Russia banned for four years, misses 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events. The ban followed the agency’s investigation into the alleged state-sponsored doping scandal.

The unanimous decision of the WADA was made in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

With the ban in place, Russia’s flag and anthem will be equally banned at major sports events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup football competition in Qatar. However, Russia will be allowed to participate in the upcoming Euro 2020, which is hosted in  St Petersburg, Russia because the European football’s governing body UEFA is not defined as a ‘major event organisation’ as such, the game is not affected by the WADA anti-doping ruling.

To make sure innocent Russian athletes are not victimized by the ban, doping-free Russian athletes are allowed to compete in the Olympic and World Cup, albeit under a neutral flag.

The decision of the WADA became inevitable following the refusal of Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) to cooperate in the investigation over alleged Rusada’s manipulation of laboratory data handed over to WADA investigators in January 2019.

Following the ban imposed on Russia in 2018 after doping scandal, the WADA demanded that Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) should hand laboratory data to WADA as a condition for reinstatement of the country, after a three-year ban. Unfortunately, Russia did not cooperate with the request, according to the WADA. 

The Rusada has 21 days to appeal against the WADA ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

This is not the first time Russia is entangled in the doping scandal. Allegations of a mafia-like State-sponsored doping scandal has seriously tarnished the image of the country and her athletes. Sadly, other innocent, clean athletes are equally caught in the web of anti-doping bans, which had seen many Russian athletes competing under a neutral flag. During the  2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, as many as 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag, following the 2014 Games ban for doping. At the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia won an astonishing 33 medals, 13 of them gold. With allegations of systematic doping, especially being allegedly orchestrated by the State, it has become increasingly difficult for many to not have a prejudicial view of every Russian athlete as a potential cheater. That attitude is indeed not healthy in the sport, where many innocent athletes work tirelessly to win clean. Unfortunately, it is only by taking very strict anti-doping measures that devoted and honest athletes can get a fair reward for their hard work, honesty and dedication.