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WADA suspends Russian anti-doping agency, declares five more nations non-compliant

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Blood samples in doping control

Blood samples in doping control
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Blood samples in doping control

Blood samples in doping control
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Blood samples in doping control

Blood samples in doping control

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided on Wednesday to declare the Russian Anti-Doping Agency as non-compliant as a result of an independent investigation into doping in Russia's athletics programme. The agency also declared five other nations non-compliant with the anti-doping code: Argentina, Bolivia and Ukraine were pinged for using non-accredited laboratories for tests, while Andorra and Israel did not have rules in place that were within the 2015 Code.

The announcement was made from the WADA Foundation Board meeting in Colorado Springs.

"The message from today's seminal WADA Foundation Board Meeting is clear: there will now be greater focus on strengthening compliance work so that all anti-doping organizations worldwide are held accountable to deliver robust anti-doping programs," said WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie.

"As we have seen from WADA's immediate response to the Independent Commission's Report, action is now well underway to right wrongs that exist in anti-doping. Our priority is now on ensuring all our partners are fully compliant and have watertight anti-doping systems that protect clean athletes and reassure sports fans worldwide," added Reedie."Make no mistake, we will not rush this process of compliance, we will do it right – the integrity of sport is under threat."

The declarations mean that these agencies can no longer conduct anti-doping controls. Brazil, France, Belgium, Greece, Mexico and Spain were told they have until March to bring their programmes into compliance, and Kenya was ordered to provide additional explanations about its anti-doping controls.

RUSADA was suspended over allegations in the report that doping positives had been covered up, that athletes paid to conceal positives, the Moscow laboratory reportedly destroyed hundreds of samples, and athletes were warned in advance of out-of-competition anti-doping controls.

RUSADA said in a statement that it is already working to identify its "shortcomings", and said, "We reiterate our commitment to fight against doping and continue our work."

While the Russian investigation restricted its terms of reference to athletics, WADA's Athlete Committee chair Beckie Scott called for all of Russian sport to be examined. "I feel that there are a lot of athletes watching and waiting right now," Scott said. "We're at a crossroads. We urge you to please consider these athletes and consider these sports as a whole."

Reedie said, "We will conduct the necessary meetings with the Russian authorities in respect of the non-compliance status of RUSADA that tests athletes in all sports within Russia.

"A WADA expert team will then meet with the task of ensuring the continuation of testing in Russia. Any information brought forward to me as a result will allow me to make a considered decision on whether or not to extend the Independent Commission's mandate [to other sports]."

Meanwhile, the Russian minister of sport Vitaly Mutko announced that RUSADA would be reformed. "We are saddened by WADA's decisions, but we respect them," Mutko said according to TASS. "We are ready to start immediately implementing the decisions. We are prepared to fully reshape RUSADA, however it is important to understand that the agency has not been liquidated and will continue its work."

Russia's athletics federation was suspended from the Olympic movement over the scandal, and Mutko is working to reverse the ban before the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The WADA Independent Commission Report stated that the scandal went beyond Russia and beyond athletics, and more information would come out before the end of the year.

UCI president Brian Cookson expressed his confidence in the Russian Cycling Federation, which is headed up by UCI Management Committee member Igor Makarov. RUSADA executive director Nikita Kamaev is on the UCI's Anti-Doping Commission, which helps shape anti-doping regulations for cycling.