Friday 24 May 2019

Anti-doping chief says a fine is not a big enough sanction for Russia's doping

IOC President Thomas Bach looks on during day one of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 4, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)
IOC President Thomas Bach looks on during day one of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 4, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)

Matt Slater

The anti-doping community's global voice has criticised the International Olympic Committee for the "secrecy" of its deliberations on how to punish Russia and said a fine can only be part of the penalty.

Set up in 2012, the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) has 68 members which represent all Olympic regions and conduct most of the drug-testing in sport.

Last week, iNADO reacted to Press Association Sport's report that IOC president Thomas Bach wants to impose a large fine on Russia for its state-sponsored doping but stop short of banning the country from February's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

In a statement, iNADO called for a "clear, unequivocal and forceful" denunciation of Russia's cheating, Russian recognition of the "magnitude of its failures", sanctions "commensurate with the damage caused to clean athletes", reparation for damages caused to anti-doping, individual consequences for the most culpable, measures to deter future wrongdoing and continued oversight.

The IOC, which set up two commissions last year to "prepare the appropriate sanctions and measures", has not responded to iNADO and has said almost nothing about how it will deal with Russia beyond saying the commissions must be allowed to do their work.

Focused on the conspiracy to sabotage the anti-doping effort at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the two commissions are expected to make their recommendations in October.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, iNADO chief executive Joseph de Pencier said: "A fine as part of a package of sanctions could be appropriate, but it would have to be very significant - probably eight figures, when you consider the damage done to clean athletes - for it to have any impact.

"If it is only a fine, however, it feels like 'pay to play', which would be very disappointing.

"A lot of people in my community would like to see what (athletics' governing body) the IAAF did at the World Championships in London, where several Russians competed as neutrals and did well.

"I can't imagine many in anti-doping would be comfortable about Russian athletes under a Russian flag at the Winter Olympics when we still have not had any analysis from the IOC on what actually happened at Sochi."

De Pencier, who began his career in anti-doping as a lawyer in the Canadian investigation into the Ben Johnson scandal, was also critical of how the IOC has responded to the World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned report into Russia's doping by Professor Richard McLaren.

"Their lack of transparency is regrettable - the IOC has done a disservice to sport and anti-doping by shrouding the commissions in secrecy," said De Pencier.

"The IAAF and (International Paralympic Committee) has done a much better job by setting out clear criteria, going step by step and giving regular updates on progress.

"I don't know who the IOC has been consulting. They have some good people, but they don't have an anti-doping department or resident expertise in this field.

"The IOC has a responsibility to be a real leader now and I hope they understand that they if they fail to do they will open themselves and the anti-doping world up to more criticism, and we will be left to clear up the mess."

While the IOC did not follow the IAAF's lead in banning Russia from the Rio Games last year, the IPC did and the Russian Paralympic Committee remains banned.

An update on Russia's status could come this week, as the IPC's reinstatement commission is meeting in Germany, while the IAAF announced earlier this month there is still much work for Russia to do before it is allowed to compete again.

A key factor in these decisions, and Russia's hopes of avoiding further sanctions, is the lifting of the ban on Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA.

That will be discussed at a WADA executive board meeting next month, with Russian sources suggesting RUSADA could be reinstated in November, although De Pencier believes it still needs to ramp up the number of tests it does and appoint a credible director general.

Press Association

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