Friday 30 September 2016

WADA president says 'good will come of evil' amid Russian athletics scandal

Gavin McCafferty

Published 09/11/2015 | 20:01

Richard W. Pound (C), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Founding President and former IOC Vice President, Richard H. McLaren (L), Legal Counsel and member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Guenter Younger, Head of Department Cybercrime with Bavarian Landeskriminalamt (LKA) leave a news conference on the WADA Independent Commission report on findings of investigation into allegations of widespread doping in sport in Geneva, Switzerland November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Richard W. Pound (C), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Founding President and former IOC Vice President, Richard H. McLaren (L), Legal Counsel and member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Guenter Younger, Head of Department Cybercrime with Bavarian Landeskriminalamt (LKA) leave a news conference on the WADA Independent Commission report on findings of investigation into allegations of widespread doping in sport in Geneva, Switzerland November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Russian athletics scandal is the biggest challenge sports anti-doping agencies have faced, according to Sir Craig Reedie, but the World Anti-Doping Agency president believes revelations of state-sponsored doping will ultimately make sport cleaner.

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A WADA-commissioned report has revealed that 1,417 samples were deliberately destroyed on the orders of Russia's drug-testing laboratory - who took cash to cover up positive tests - amid intimidation of officials by the Russian secret service.

Reedie said: "It's certainly the most serious issue that the world anti-doping community has had to deal with.

"WADA has been around for 50 years and I can't remember anything else that remotely compares with his situation, that an independent commission, established quite correctly and very quickly by the international agency, produces such compelling evidence.

"When you look at the combination of organisations that clearly were collaborating to make this work and you look at the range of recommendations, then it's quite clear that this was organised by a laboratory, a national anti-doping organisation, almost certainly an individual national athletics federation. So you've got three different organisations combining to beat the system.

"Every now and again you come across an athlete who cheats: either does it themselves or with their coach. But it's not often you come across an organisation that is so widespread and, it would appear, with so many athletes.

"I think the world will want us to be much stricter and aggressive in saying whether people are compliant or not. At the end of the day, I think good will come out of evil."

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The independent commission called for Russia to be banned from the 2016 Olympics, but Reedie said he will leave that issue to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

He vowed WADA would deal quickly with the accredited laboratory in Moscow and the Russian anti-doping agency.

"As far as the national athletics federation in Russia is concerned, that is the responsibility of the IAAF," he added after making a speech at the Host City 2015 conference in Glasgow.

"We will clearly work with the IAAF as closely as they want us to and as we are able to."

Reedie has confidence in the IAAF and president Lord Coe despite his predecessor, Lamine Diack, being under French police investigation for allegedly receiving more than one million euros to cover up doping.

"The allegations against people at the top end of the IAAF are intensely regrettable," Reedie said. "They have done the sport great damage.

"To the best of my knowledge, none of them are there. This is a new elected council and president. That group of people, many of whom I know, will be acutely aware of the difficulties they face.

"I think the new leadership can do it. It's not going to be easy and it's going to involve a great deal of effort but we will help them as best we can."

The commission still has two issues to report on: the review on levels of criminal activity, which has been passed on to the French police and Interpol; and, more imminently, on accusations surrounding blood profiles and claims that the IAAF did not follow up suspicious results.

Press Association

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