Russia hopeful WADA ban will not impact World Cup

By Sports Desk December 09, 2019

The Russian Football Union (RFU) is hopeful Russia's four-year ban from international sporting events will not impact their potential participation in the 2022 World Cup.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant again at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.

A WADA panel had recommended the ban over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

Athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games, while Russia's place at the World Cup in Qatar is also in jeopardy.

FIFA is yet to reveal its stance on the suspension, but the RFU is optimistic Russia will be present in Qatar if they are successful in their qualification campaign, while it is keen for hosting opportunities in football also to be unaffected.

The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020, with St Petersburg acting as one of the host cities.

"The RFU has not yet received an official FIFA position by decision of WADA," a widely reported statement read.

"We closely monitor compliance with the anti-doping policy and hope that there will not be any restrictions on the part of FIFA for our teams, as well as the organisation of events or competitions in Russia."

RFU honorary president Vyacheslav Koloskov – formerly a vice-president of FIFA – is "firmly convinced" there will be no issues for the national football team.

"Will we go to the World Cup under our flag? I still have to go there, but I can't say anything about the team," Koloskov told Championat. "There is no FIFA reaction yet.

"We must carefully discuss this topic, but I am firmly convinced that these prohibitions will not affect football. And at the European Championship, we will definitely compete under our flag."

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has welcomed WADA's decision and adds it hopes any appeal process is swift with the Olympic Games in Tokyo just seven-and-a-half months away.

"We welcome today's decision to declare RUSADA non-compliant, and the decisive action by WADA's Executive Committee (ExCo) to impose four-year sanctions on Russian athletes and support personnel," UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said. 

"This was the only possible outcome that the WADA ExCo could take to reassure athletes and the public and continue the task of seeking justice for those cheated by Russian athletes.

"We know however that this is not necessarily the end of the matter. If RUSADA chooses to appeal this decision to CAS [the Court of Arbitration for Sport], this must be carried out with minimal delay, especially in light of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 

"We welcome the clear and detailed communication from WADA today [Monday] which is vital in helping to maintain confidence in the global anti-doping system."

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to CAS.

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

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

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