Russian flag, national anthem banned from Olympics for 4 years

Ross Houston
December 10, 2019

Russian Federation is on course to have its presence and participation in worldwide sport severely curtailed for four years, after World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) leaders today endorsed the recommendations of the Agency's Compliance Review Committee (CRC).

Motor racing's governing body, the FIA, is classified as such in WADA documents, so events organised by it appear to fall under this jurisdiction. "That is exactly what has been delivered today", WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement.

Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.

Athletes from Russia who can prove they have not been involved in the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag, with the Russian flag and national anthem banned from all major sporting events, according to the BBC, .

Legal fallout from the WADA ruling at CAS seems sure to dominate preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, which open July 24.

"It was agreed that this was an attack on sport and that these actions should lead to the toughest sanctions against those responsible", the International Olympic Committee said, asking that the Russian authorities deliver the "fully authenticated raw data".

The Australian Olympic Committee also backed the ban, with vice-president Ian Chesterman saying the sanctions were an appropriate response to the recommendations of WADA Compliance Review Committee.

A number of top regulatory and sports officials wanted stronger sanctions, including U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who hoped for a full ban on all Russian athletes in the Olympics for what he called "Russia's five-year flaunting" of doping regulations.

The ban comes as a result of the allegations of a state-run doping program involving Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, to guarantee dominance in the Games.

The former head of Russia's anti-doping agency, who fled Moscow after turning whistleblower, on Monday welcomed a four-year ban from major sporting events imposed on his country.

Russia, however, will be allowed to take part in next year's European soccer championships, when it will also be one of the competition's host countries.

Former Olympic speed skater Svetlana Zhurova, who is now a deputy chairperson in Russia's lower parliamentary house, said that the RUSADA's (Russian anti-doping agency) board would meet on December 19 to decide whether to accept the latest sanctions.

"Russian organisations that deal with these issues should consider challenging this decision", Medvedev said in comments carried by state news agency TASS. Should Russia be allowed to take part in both events-which both fall under UEFA's jurisdiction-it could find itself in a position to qualify for a tournament it is now banned from. "But this is as far as we could go", said Helleland.

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