Russia has been handed a ban from participating in major sporting events for four years. The period most notably includes the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and FIFA World Cup 2022, which the Russian team cannot participate.
World Anti Doping Agency’s (WADA) executive committee made the unanimous decision in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Russia’s previous ban regarding a doping scandal in the 2014 Winter Olympics was reinstated in 2018. The Russians were asked to hand over the laboratory data to the investigators, which they agreed to do so. However, it was found that the data was manipulated and the Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared non-compliant for the same.
Although the current ban does not allow any athlete to participate under a Russian flag, the clean athletes of Russia can participate under a neutral flag. In the aftermath of their previous ban, 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, which it hosted in Sochi. Russian athletes won 13 Gold medals in the event and a total of 33 medals.
Russia still have a ray of hope after Wada said that Rusada has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it does so, which they most likely will, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said the ban was “not enough” as quoted by BBC Sport.
“I wanted sanctions that can not be watered down,” she said. “We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible.”
The current ban does not stop Russia from participating in the 2020 Euro organised by the European footballs governing body UEFA. The reason for this being UEFA not being defined as a ‘major event organisation’ with regards to rulings on anti-doping breaches. The EURO 2020 also has Russia’s St. Petersburg as one of its venues.