FIFA in contact with WADA to clarify Russia ban

By Ben Spratt 9 December 2019 25
FIFA in contact with WADA to clarify Russia ban

FIFA has made contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to clarify how Russia's ban from major international sporting events applies to football.

On Monday, WADA's Executive Committee endorsed a recommended four-year ban for Russia, with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) declared non-compliant again over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

The suspension means athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games.

It would also appear to prevent Russia from entering the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, although WADA's International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Stanislav Cherchesov's side will be free to compete at Euro 2020.

However, the Russian Football Union said it was hopeful football would not be impacted but it was waiting to hear from FIFA.

FIFA is yet to reveal its stance on the suspension but has confirmed to Omnisport it is in contact with WADA and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

"FIFA has taken note of the decision taken by WADA Executive Committee today," a FIFA spokesperson said.

"FIFA is in contact with WADA and ASOIF to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football."

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Jonathan Taylor, chair of the Compliance Review Committee that recommended the sanction, told a news conference: "It is the event that decides the world champion that is covered by the ban."

However, Taylor acknowledged each sport would be assessed on a "case-by-case basis".

"Let's be clear about the totality of this package. It's a four-year package and relates to a number of different things," he said. "In terms of participation, the standard is clear.

"There will be no flag at the events that are covered. There will not be a Russian flag and athletes will not be competing as representatives of Russia.

"The details from sport to sport will have to differ because some are team sports, some are individual sports. There is going to have to be a case-by-case basis.

"Nevertheless, what is important to note is that the standard says it is under the control and approval of WADA to ensure appropriate and standardised enforcement.

"That may, if there is a CAS case, be taken to CAS so it can see and endorse it itself.

"Can we be definitive now in every case as to what it will mean? No, but the standard is clear. They will not be there as representatives of Russia."

WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement the body had delivered "a robust response".

"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial," he said.

Other concerned parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), can also appeal to CAS if RUSADA chooses not to.

An appeal from the IOC, another Olympic committee or an international federation - such as FIFA - would have to come within 21 days of RUSADA accepting WADA's decision.

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