Russia's hopes of competing in next year's Winter Olympics have been "dealt a severe blow" after WADA ruled it "failed to clean up its sporting system," according to Ahmed & Seddon of the FINANCIAL TIMES. WADA rejected an appeal by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) for Russia to be "reinstated in the world body and deemed compliant with global testing standards." Russian authorities "reacted angrily to the news," saying that WADA's decision "is political." The ruling means Russia has "not done enough" to convince WADA it can be "relied on" to properly test its athletes, after evidence emerged that Russian anti-doping laboratories were the "hub of a conspiracy to evade tests." RUSADA was deemed non-compliant in Nov. '15 after evidence emerged of a state-sponsored doping regime (FT, 11/16). The PA reported while RUSADA has met "almost every technical item on the 31-point list, much of which has been overseen by UK Anti-Doping," it has "refused to comply with two fundamental criteria." Despite the recent discovery of further evidence to corroborate the case against them, Russian authorities "will still not admit" they ran a state-sponsored doping program or allow access to blood and urine samples stored in the Moscow anti-doping laboratory "at the heart of the conspiracy." By refusing to meet these requirements, the Russian delegation's efforts to persuade the 38-strong foundation board, which represents the governments and Olympic sports that co-fund WADA, to lift RUSADA's ban were "doomed" (PA, 11/16). The BBC reported Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said that RUSADA has "fulfilled all of their obligations" to get the ban lifted. But WADA President Craig Reedie said that WADA and the Russian authorities "seem to have very different definitions" of what is deemed state-sponsored doping. Reedie: "Their definition seems to be that state-sponsored means from the very top of state down to the very bottom of state. In the western world it would be different. If it comes down to a situation where we're one letter apart then I'm sure we could resolve that" (BBC, 11/16).
'ROAD TO NOWHERE': REUTERS' Peter Rutherford reported the decision is "likely to add more pressure" on the IOC to ban Russian athletes from the 2018 Winter Games. The Kremlin "slammed WADA's decision as unfair," insisting Russia did not have a state-sponsored doping program. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, "We do not agree with such a decision. We consider it unfair and we have denied and categorically deny accusations that the use of doping had state support. This is out of the question" (REUTERS, 11/16). BLOOMBERG's Henry Meyer reported Russian Deputy PM Vitaly Mutko said that the WADA ruling is a "road to nowhere." Of Russian participation being left in doubt, Mikhail Degtyarev, head of the sports, youth & tourism committee in the Duma, said, "Western manipulators are abusing their influence over international organizations and playing on our nerves. They forget that we'll react to any pressure and especially unfair treatment like Russians do, we'll rally together" (BLOOMBERG, 11/16).