Sat | Oct 24, 2020

Anti-doping agency imposes 4-year ban on Russia

Published:Monday | December 9, 2019 | 10:07 AM
In this May 24, 2016, file photo, lab technicians work at Russia's national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russia was slapped Monday with a four-year ban from international sports events, including next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, over a longstanding doping scandal, although its athletes will still be able to compete if they can show they are clean competitors.

The ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s executive committee means that Russia’s flag, name and anthem will not appear at the Tokyo Games, and the country also could be stripped of hosting world championships in Olympic sports.

The sanctions are the harshest punishment yet for Russian state authorities who were accused of tampering with a Moscow laboratory database. Russia’s anti-doping agency can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days — an action it has signalled it would take.

Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in major events only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or if their data was not manipulated, according to the WADA ruling.

For soccer’s 2022 World Cup, WADA said the Russian team will play under its name in the qualifying program in Europe.

If it qualifies for Qatar, the name will have be changed to something neutral that likely would not include the word “Russia.”

Legal fallout from the WADA ruling seems sure to dominate preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, which open on July 24.

Evidence shows that Russian authorities tampered with a Moscow laboratory database to hide hundreds of potential doping cases and falsely shift the blame onto whistleblowers, WADA investigators and the International Olympic Committee said last month.

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