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WADA appoints outside experts to oversee Russia reforms

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2016 | 1:00 AM

MOSCOW (AP):

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) wants three outside experts to oversee the clean-up of Russia's anti-doping system.

A WADA report in November accused Russia of operating a state-sponsored doping programme in track and field and also led to the national anti-doping agency RUSADA being stopped from carrying out tests, following accusations that it covered up drug use by Russian athletes.

As RUSADA tries to earn back its right to run Russia's anti-doping operation, WADA announced yesterday that it would appoint two "international experts" to oversee the process and wants a third to sit on RUSADA's board.

"There is much work to be done if RUSADA is to become compliant again," WADA director general David Howman said in a statement.

"By appointing independent international experts, WADA will be able to monitor the situation and determine when requirements will have been met that will protect the rights of clean athletes worldwide and help re-establish public confidence in the Russian anti-doping programme."

UK BODY TO TAKE CHARGE

Meanwhile, the UK Anti-Doping agency said yesterday that it had been asked by WADA to run Russia's doping test system across all sports, while RUSADA is suspended and is close to signing a contract. WADA said this would mean "targeted and intelligence-led testing" for Russian athletes.

"If you are talking about state-sponsored doping, you question whether it is just limited to just athletics. You have to be careful you are not singling one sport out in an effort to avoid a bigger issue," Nicole Sapstead, chief executive of UKAD, said at a briefing in London. "If anyone thinks this is purely about Russia and purely about athletics, they are supremely naive.

"It is not single figures, the countries where they need to do more. I'm not saying it's state-sponsored or corrupt. It's whether they are fit for purpose. I would say there is a big question mark over a number of countries' anti-doping organisations."

Even if Russia's ban from track and field is lifted in time for the Olympics, no Russian athlete will be allowed to compete internationally without having been tested at least three times.

Natalia Zhelanova, an adviser on anti-doping to Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, told Russia's Tass agency that she expected UKAD to work with RUSADA and that the pair would start joint operations "by February".