The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory’s license. According to the organization’s website, the decision will remain in effect until the end of the disciplinary proceedings. Until then, the Moscow laboratory is banned from doing any work related to the analysis of blood samples in the athlete biological passport program.
Yuri Ganus, head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), has already said that WADA’s decision will not affect athletes, because the department works with laboratories in Stockholm, Cologne, Ghent and Lausanne, and so athletes can use other laboratories for as long as Moscow’s one remains suspended. “We have contacts and a provisional agreement with the logistical operators to move to the East – to Korea and Japan,” the Russian news agency Interfax cites Ganus as saying.
The suspension of the Moscow laboratory’s license is linked to WADA’s decision to exclude Russia from international sporting competitions for four years as punishment for manipulation of the anti-doping laboratory’s database.
On January 9, WADA submitted an official request to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to initiate a lawsuit against RUSADA.
On December 9, 2019, WADA’s executive committee banned Russia from participating in international competitions, including the Olympics and world championships, for a period of four years. However, “clean” Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at the Olympics under a neutral flag. The Russian flag and national anthem will be banned at official international competitions.
The decision was unanimous. It was in response to extensive doping violations in Russian sport and subsequent attempts to alter the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory’s database. The decision has not yet taken effect. Russia has 21 days to appeal.
On December 27, 2019, RUSADA sent WADA a letter stating its disagreement with the decision.