The World Anti-Doping Agency’s board has agreed unanimously to banish Russia from international sports for four years, which will include next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The punishment, connected to well publicised cheating scheme, was decided on today when the board convened close to the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The penalties come four years after the first details of the scheme – that peaked at the 2014 Sochi Olympics – were made public. The country will face specific bans on Russian sports and government officials prohibiting the country from hosting international events.
Russia, which denies the allegations despite several independent investigations, is expected to contest the decision. Russian officials have 21 days to lodge an appeal with the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport. If unsuccessful, its ouster will stretch to events well beyond the Olympics, including soccer’s World Cup.
The WADA board agreed to punishments including forcing Russian athletes who have not been implicated in doping to compete at a second straight Olympic Games in neutral uniforms and collect any medals they win without the raising of the nation’s flag or the playing of its anthem.
They also bar Russian government officials and representatives from attending major events or from serving on the board of any organisation that has signed the global antidoping code, prevent Russia from bidding on new championships, and require moving any international events the country was set to host during the four-year period.