(This 06th December story is corrected to make clear statement is from the UKAD Athlete Commission)
FILE PHOTO: A man walks at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) venue on the eve of the Fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport in Katowice, Poland, November 4, 2019. Agencja Gazeta/Grzegorz Celejewski via REUTERS
(Reuters) – The World Anti-Doping Agency must impose the “strongest possible sanctions” on Russia for state-sponsored doping because athletes around the world have suffered as a result, the independent UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) Athlete Commission said on Friday.
A WADA compliance committee recommended last week that Russia receive a four-year Olympic ban, which would keep it out of next year’s Tokyo Games, as part of a sanctions package to punish Moscow for having provided the agency with doctored and incomplete laboratory data.
The compliance committee’s recommendations will be put to the executive committee at meetings in Paris on Monday.
“The UK Anti-Doping Athlete Commission is calling on the members of the WADA Executive Committee (ExCo) to implement the strongest possible sanctions to protect sport when they meet next week,” it said in a statement.
“We all have a genuine interest in ensuring athlete welfare and fair play stay at the heart of the sports movement, regardless of nationality.
“As a result of the systematic and institutional Russian doping scandal, many athletes from many nationalities have had their medals, moment on the podium and health violated, and many Russian athletes have fallen victim to an oppressive doping system.”
RUSADA was initially suspended after a 2015 WADA report found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping in Russian sport involving athletes across many sports.
The UKAD Athlete Commission also called on the International Paralympic and Olympic Committees to impose sanctions on Russia.
“We believe WADA should implement a total ban of Russian athletes in all competitions until the international community… have confidence that cheating on this scale has been eliminated and that integrity in sport can begin to be restored,” it said.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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