Russia has escaped with no further punishment from Wada despite missing a deadline to provide all their doping data by more than two weeks. However, Wada bosses say they could face severe punishment if anything is found to have been tampered with.
Wada had asked Russian authorities for access to raw samples and data from their doping laboratory, and set a deadline of December 31st to receive them. However, this deadlines was missed by over a fortnight.
Wada President, Sir Craig Reedie, has said that “significant progress” has been made since. This includes the handover of more than 20 terabytes of data from Moscow, which could help to prosecute hundreds of doping cases.
“Collecting the all-important data is a critical step and it was not easy to achieve. We are not yet at the finishing line but undeniably we are much further along the track than we would have been without the September executive committee decision.
“We are now proceeding to the second phase, namely authenticating the data retrieved from the Moscow laboratory so that ultimately we can use it to catch more athletes who cheated and to exonerate others.”
Wada’s executive committee was heavily criticised in September when it decided to lift the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s suspension despite Russia continuing to deny its involvement in a massive state-sponsored doping operation.
Reedie described the criticism he has faced from many anti-doping groups and athletes, who believe he has been too soft on Russia, as “wearying” but insisted recent events had vindicated his decisions.
Meanwhile Wada’s director of investigations, Gunter Younger, promised that his department was now in a “very good position” to prosecute Russian doping cases after getting the Moscow lab data.
“We had already identified the most suspicious cases. We just needed the last piece of the puzzle, which was the raw lab data. It is very complicated to falsify individual documents, but we are not naive.”
Jonathan Taylor, the head of Wada’s compliance review committee, said the “toughest possible sanctions” would be imposed on Russia if tampering was confirmed.
“These will very likely include that Russia may not be granted any right to host any World Championships in any sport for a specified period; and that no Russian officials, athletes or athlete support personnel will be permitted to participate in the 2020 Olympic or Paralympic Games.”