Sport Ireland criticises Wada and IOC as Russia reinstatement looms
International Olympic Committee took ‘weak stand’ against Russia, says Treacy
Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy: “For the IOC to be pushing for Russia to be reinstated, it is wrong and it fundamentally undermines what we are all trying to do in terms of clean sport.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), set up to police sport against the use of banned substances, has been accused of undermining the ethics and transparency on which the organisation was founded.
In proposals that beggar belief, moves to lift the suspension on Russia’s anti-doping agency have alarmed many countries committed to clean sport.
Sport Ireland joined the condemnation on Wednesday speaking out against an agreement Wada is expected to make on Thursday, which will lead to Russia being accepted back into world sport having not met several fundamental recommendations previously set out.
Furthermore, Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy has accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of taking a “weak stand” against Russia and its wholesale state-sponsored doping regime, which led to a ban of Russian athletes in most Olympic sports prior to the Rio Olympic Games.
“What happened at Sochi (2014) in the Winter Olympics, all the manipulation and swapping of samples, that undermined sport itself and it undermined the Olympic movement itself,” said a furious Treacy.
“Now for the IOC to be pushing for Russia to be reinstated, it is wrong and it fundamentally undermines what we are all trying to do in terms of clean sport.”
In July 2016, Richard McLaren, a Canadian attorney, investigated allegations against Russia and published a 97-page report highlighting significant state-sponsored doping.
The report concluded that it was shown “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Russia’s ministry of sport, the Centre of Sports Preparation of the National Teams of Russia, the Federal Security Service (FSB), and the Wada-accredited laboratory in Moscow had “operated for the protection of doped Russian athletes” within a “state-directed failsafe system”.
Wada published a road map by which Russia could again compete in events, part of which insisted they accept the McLaren Report and acknowledge there was institutional doping at the highest levels. McLaren also required the Russian government provide access to testing data and some 2,867 samples stored at their Moscow laboratory.
It will be recommended today at a Seychelles meeting that Wada reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) as compliant and that critical findings by McLaren be set aside for the more recent Schmid Report, sponsored by the IOC and published in December 2017.
The IOC-led Schmid report contradicts McLaren in finding that while Russian officials admitted wrongdoing by individuals there was no evidence of a “state doping support system”.
“For us it is moving the goalposts big time. It is very disappointing,” said Treacy. “This decision should be postponed. The McLaren report . . . that has been dodged and replaced by the Schmid report.
“In terms of taking responsibility at the highest level of the Russian sports ministry, that’s taken out. That’s moving the goalposts. This is pulling the rug from underneath everyone because they [Wada] are now not transparent themselves. The athletes are asking how this came about. Wada have questions to answer.”
It is an extraordinary position in which Treacy and Sport Ireland finds itself. An enthusiastic supporter of Wada over the years, Ireland is perceived to have a robust anti-doping programme and have adopted many of the recommendations from the world body.
But Wada is also run on a shoestring budget and now finds itself going head to head with the all powerful IOC, which in a heavy handed way is pushing to have one of the biggest players reinstated before the Tokyo Olympics. All at the expense of Wada credibility.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, the IOC has taken a week stand around Russia from day one allowing Russia to compete in RIO,” said Treacy.
“It was only the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) and the IAAF that stood up to Russia that time. I believe it’s an attempt by the IOC to allow Russia back into the fold so they can start hosting events again.
It appears Wada has also consented to the Russian Federation managing Wada’s access to both the Moscow database and the urine samples still stored at the Moscow laboratory. Furthermore access will be conditional on Rusada being reinstated. No reinstatement, no access to samples and all of it Russian controlled anyway.
The Russian ministry of sport will also provide the independent expert to analyse the samples and data but it will not be the full access originally sought by Wada. In addition the independent expert’s access must be supervised by Russian authorities.
In an extraordinary flip, the poacher has demanded to become gamekeeper and the IOC and Wada have agreed.
“Countries around the world have signed up to Wada big time,” said Treacy. “This fundamentally shakes that foundation of Wada in my view. Wada is supposed to stand up for integrity.”
No longer. Wada ethically shot, the IOC ethically bankrupt and Russia calling the tunes.