The data are crucial to build strong cases against cheats and exonerate other athletes suspected of having participated in widespread doping on the basis of previous WADA-commissioned investigations led by Richard W. Pound and Professor Richard H. McLaren. The data has been retrieved from the laboratory’s various servers, instruments, computers and other electronic equipment. This information has now been transported out of Russia for authentication and detailed analysis by the Agency.
The independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC), which met in Montreal on 14-15 January to consider the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA’s) compliance status, received a full report on everything that has happened since the 20 September 2018 decision of WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) to reinstate RUSADA, under strict conditions, to the list of World Anti-Doping Code-compliant Signatories. It has now submitted its recommendation to be considered by the ExCo on 22 January. The CRC drafted its report and recommendation during its meeting and finalized it only after the WADA expert team had left Russia.
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said: “This is a major breakthrough for clean sport. It shows we are continuing to make real progress that simply would not have happened without the 20 September ExCo decision. The first phase of the three-phase process outlined by that decision is now complete. The long impasse around access to the former Moscow Laboratory has been broken and that is significantly good news.
“WADA now embarks on the second phase, which entails the authentication and review of the data to ensure it is complete and that it has not been compromised. Given the amount of data, that will take some time to achieve but our experts have the tools they need to be able to verify the data with a high degree of confidence.
“Once the data have been authenticated, we will be in a position to proceed to the third phase and support the various sports and other anti-doping organizations concerned to build strong cases against athletes who doped and, as part of that, ensure that certain samples that are still stored in the Moscow Laboratory are re-analyzed in an accredited laboratory no later than 30 June 2019.”
On 31 December 2018, RUSADA and the Russian authorities missed a deadline to provide access to the data. On 1 January 2019, WADA immediately notified RUSADA of this non-conformity and the fast-track process outlined in the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) was instigated. Under the terms of the ISCCS, it is key for WADA, as the regulator, to follow due process and give any Signatory the opportunity to make a submission to the CRC to explain the non-conformity.
At all times, WADA maintained its resolve to retrieve these crucial data so more cases of doping could be asserted against cheats and so other athletes could be exonerated. WADA continues to pursue that goal in the interest of athletes worldwide.