After its executive committee meets in Lausanne on Monday, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned the Russian flag, national anthem and the Russian Athletics Federation from next year’s Tokyo Olympics, 2021 World Cup and other major sports events for four years.
The decision was taken after the world doping body concluded that the Russian authorities had tampered the Moscow laboratory database to hide several potential doping cases.
The committee’s decision to suspend Russia with a ban was unanimous, a WADA spokesman confirmed.
While Russia has time and again tried to portray itself as a sports powerhouse, it has been embroiled in controversy since 2015 – when a report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.
Since the development, there has been a significant rise in reported doping cases among the Russian athletes. Many were sidelined from the past two Olympics and athletes were stripped of the Russian flag altogether at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.
According to the WADA ruling, Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in major events without their flag or anthem for four years, as was the case during the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or if their data was not manipulated.
WADA also said that if Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA appeals against the sanctions then the case will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Following are a few repercussions Russia will face during the 4-year sporting ban:
- During the duration of the ban, Russia would not be permitted to host or submit a bid to host any of the major events including the Olympic, Paralympic Summer and Winter Games.
- During the four years, any of the events – scheduled to take place in Russia, should be withdrawn and reassigned unless WADA thinks otherwise.
- Russia would also not be able to become a candidate to host the 2032 Summer Olympics whether or not the bidding process falls within the four-year window.
- Four Euro 2020 matches, including a quarter-final, and the 2021 Champions League final, all of which are taking place in St Petersburg, will go as per schedule as WADA justified these exceptions last month by saying the competitions were “not multi-sport major events or world championships but rather regional/continental single-sport events”.