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WADA Committee Member Quits in Wake of Russia Recommendation

Category: Other Sports,Sports

MONTREAL — The Olympic champion Beckie Scott resigned on Saturday from the World Anti-Doping Agency committee that recommended ending Russia’s drug suspension as WADA, the global watchdog, defended its handling of the case.

Scott, one of six members of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee, stepped down a day after it emerged that the panel had given a green light for the suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, or Rusada, to be lifted on Thursday at a board meeting in the Seychelles.

WADA’s disclosure of the committee’s decision on Friday drew criticism from athletes and other testing bodies who claim Russian authorities have not met set benchmarks necessary for readmission.

The WADA decision also came after a leaked document earlier in the week that showed the committee had initially recommended leaving the ban in place at Thursday’s meeting.

Scott’s resignation, which was reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC, appears to highlight tensions within WADA over the decision. Scott will retain her role as the head of WADA’s athletes committee, reports said.

The Russian antidoping agency has been suspended since 2015, when WADA revealed a vast, Russian-state-supported doping scandal to cheat at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and for years beforehand.

WADA’s apparent U-turn on Friday was condemned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency chief, Travis Tygart.

“Frankly, it stinks to high heaven,” Tygart said, demanding WADA release all relevant correspondence regarding the issue.

“Today, WADA has unequivocally told the world the type of organization it is: one that supports the desires of a handful of sports administrators over the rights of millions of clean athletes.”

WADA on Friday said that its Compliance Review Committee was recommending lifting the suspension after reviewing a letter from the Russian ministry of sport.

“This letter sufficiently acknowledged the issues identified in Russia, therefore fulfilling the first of the two outstanding criteria of Rusada’s roadmap to compliance,” WADA said.

It said Russia had also agreed to provide access to data and samples in its Moscow laboratory to WADA via an independent expert.

But in a separate statement issued on Saturday, WADA suggested that lifting the penalty on Thursday was not a foregone conclusion.

It said Russia still needed to provide data from the drug-tainted Moscow laboratory at the center of the scandal within a set time frame.

If the Compliance Review Committee’s recommendation is approved by the WADA executive committee on Thursday, “Rusada will be declared compliant,” WADA said.

“However, for the avoidance of doubt, the second condition demands that WADA receives a copy of the former Moscow laboratory’s database and the raw data via an independent expert within a strict time limit to be determined by the ExCo.

“If this is not met in full, then the C.R.C. will recommend to the ExCo that Rusada is, once again, declared noncompliant.”

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