Ban All Russian Track Athletes: World Anti-Doping Agency Panel

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
/ Source: Associated Press
By The Associated Press

GENEVA — A World Anti-Doping Agency panel accused the Russian government Monday of complicity in widespread doping and cover-ups by its track and field athletes and said they should all be banned from competition until the country cleans up its act.

Former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound, chairman of the WADA independent commission.Fabrice Coffrini / AFP — Getty Images

The devastatingly critical 350-page report came from a WADA commission that has been probing media allegations of widespread doping and deception in Russia. It said even the country's intelligence service, the FSB, was involved, spying on Moscow's anti-doping lab, including during last year's Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The commission, chaired by Dick Pound, recommended that WADA immediately declare the Russian federation "non-compliant" with the global anti-doping code and that the IAAF suspend the federation from competition.

It also said the International Olympic Committee should not accept any entries from the Russian federation until the body has been declared compliant with the code and the suspension has been lifted. Such a decision could keep Russian athletes out of next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"There is no reason to believe that athletics is the only sport in Russia to have been affected"

The commission also accused the Russian state of complicity. It said its months-long probe found no written evidence of government involvement but it added: "It would be naive in the extreme to conclude that activities on the scale discovered could have occurred without the explicit or tacit approval of Russian governmental authorities."

The report said agents from the FSB even infiltrated Russia's anti-doping work at the Sochi Olympics. One witness told the inquiry that "in Sochi, we had some guys pretending to be engineers in the lab but actually they were from the federal security service."

Staff at Russia's anti-doping lab in Moscow believed their offices were bugged by the FSB and an FSB agent regularly visited.

This was part of a wider pattern of "direct intimidation and interference by the Russian state with the Moscow laboratory operations," the report said.

While its report largely focuses on doping in Russian athletics, it adds "there is no reason to believe that athletics is the only sport in Russia to have been affected."

Russian gold medalist Mariya Savinova, left, celebrates with bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova after the women's 800-meter final at the London Olympic Games in August 2012.Mike Hewitt / Getty Images — file

The report also called for the gold and bronze-medal winners at 800 meters at the London Olympics to be among five Russian runners targeted for lifetime bans.

The commission's report said the London Games were sabotaged because track's governing body and Russia's anti-doping authority didn't take doping seriously enough and allowed runners to compete who should not have.

It recommended lifetime bans for Olympic champion Mariya Savinova-Farnosova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova.