Geneva :In a devastatingly critical report, a World Anti-Doping Agency panel accused the Russian government today of complicity in widespread doping and cover-ups by its track and field athletes and said they should all be banned from competition—possibly even next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro—until the country cleans up its act.
The report from a WADA commission that has been probing media allegations of widespread doping and deception in Russia — host of soccer’s next World Cup—said even the country’s intelligence service, the FSB, was involved, spying on Moscow’s anti-doping lab, including during last year’s Winter Games in Sochi.
The commission chaired by Dick Pound recommended that WADA immediately declare the Russian federation “non-compliant” with the global anti-doping code, and that the IAAF suspend the federation from competition.
“It’s pretty disturbing,” Pound said. “It’s worse than we thought.”
“It may be a residue of the old Soviet Union system,” he added at a news conference in Geneva. Pound said the doping could be called state-sponsored. “They would certainly have known,” he said of Russian officials.
The commission said the International Olympic Committee should not accept any entries from the Russian athletics federation until the body has been declared complaint with the code and the suspension has been lifted. Such a decision could keep Russian athletes out of next year’s Olympics in Brazil.
If Russia doesn’t clean up, “the outcome may be that there are no Russian track and field athletes in Rio,” Pound said.
But he also said there may still be time for Russia to avoid that, if it starts reforming immediately.
“I think they can do it, I hope they can,” Pound said. The commission accused the Russian state of complicity.
It said its months-long probe found no written evidence of government involvement but it added: “It would be naive in the extreme to conclude that activities on the scale discovered could have occurred without the explicit or tacit approval of Russian governmental authorities.”