Official says Russia will not accept WADA’s McLaren report

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will not accept the outcome of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) McLaren report, a condition for the reinstatement of its national anti-doping agency, a senior official from the country said on Thursday.

WADA said on Wednesday that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) had passed 19 criteria on the roadmap to compliance but plenty of roadblocks remain, with 12 hurdles still to clear before reinstatement.

The body has demanded that authorities responsible for Russia’s anti-doping program, including the Ministry of Sport and the National Olympic Committee, publicly accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation, which uncovered widespread state-sponsored doping at the Sochi Olympics.

“As for the report, we have repeatedly said that it contains certain contentious positions and provisions,” Vitaly Smirnov, who heads a state-backed anti-doping commission, was quoted as saying by R-Sport news agency.

“Undoubtedly no one is going to accept this report.”

When asked by Reuters during a conference call on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not say whether the country would be willing to publicly accept the outcomes of the McLaren report.

“Concerning the different reports about this, there are some elements with which Moscow does not agree,” Peskov said.

RUSADA was stripped of its international accreditation in 2015 after a WADA Independent Commission exposed widespread doping in Russian athletics, and has yet to regain credibility nearly two years on.

The report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren found that more than 1,000 Russian competitors in more than 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over a period of five years.

WADA said Russian agency had made some progress, listing 19 criteria that had been met, including access to “closed cities” for testing athletes and the removal of twice Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva from her position as head of RUSADA’s supervisory council.

WADA has also given RUSADA permission to plan and coordinate testing again using trained doping control officers (DCOs), under the supervision of WADA-appointed international experts and the British Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD).

Despite the progress, WADA said in a statement on Wednesday that RUSADA would remain non-compliant until the 12 criteria were met.

Among them, RUSADA must select a new director general through a transparent recruitment process overseen by the two international experts.

The Russian government must also allow testers access to stored urine samples in its Moscow laboratory.

Once RUSADA meets all the conditions, the agency will be put on a form of probation that would require it to fulfill some post-compliance conditions, including the continued funding of the two international experts.

Nineteen Russians will compete as neutral athletes at the World Athletics Championships that begin in London on Friday.

Reporting by Gabrielle T├ętrault-Farber in Moscow and Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom, Sudipto Ganguly and Alison Williams

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