Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events, by the World Anti-Doping Agency – ‘WADA’.
This means, the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed, at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
However, athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.
The ban comes, after Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency – ‘RUSADA’ – was declared non-compliant, for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators, in January this year.
RUSADA had to hand over data to WADA, as a condition of its controversial re-instatement in 2018, after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.
RUSADA has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Meanwhile, the Russian Boxing Federation says, Russian boxers will take part in the Tokyo Olympics, only if doping sanctions – forcing them to compete as neutral athletes – are overturned.
The Russian Boxing Federation unanimously rejects the conditions laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency – WADA – as punishment for manipulating doping data.
However, separately, the Speaker of Russia’s Upper House of Parliament: Valentina Matvienko said, Russia could create an “alternative” to the Olympics. She explained, there is a precedent, as after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union refused to compete in the ‘Olympics’, and hosted its own ‘Spartakiads’, named after the ancient rebel slave Spartacus, with a strong socialist slant.
The official decision on whether to dispute the sanctions will be made on the 19th of this month, by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s Supervisory Board, but senior figures – including Russian President Vladimir Putin – have signalled their preference for taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.