Russia’s Friendship Games in Danger to Be Disrupted: WADA furious, IOC outraged

Russia’s Friendship Games in Danger to Be Disrupted: WADA furious, IOC outraged

World Anti-Doping Agency Director General Olivier Niggli said that Russia has no right to organize the World Friendship Games due to the lack of compliance status of the Russian anti-doping agency.

“We are aware of Russia’s intention to organize the Friendship Games. We understand that they are going to be organized not within the framework of world sport. What is worth mentioning is the fact that the organization is being handled by the president of a federation deprived of IOC recognition. We don’t know a lot of details, but we believe that it is necessary to draw attention to this event from the point of view of anti-doping. It will be organized by a country whose anti-doping system does not comply with the code. We will not be able to monitor this event, it will not involve the AIU (Independent Authority Against Adverse Events in Athletics), so the athletes will not be provided with a system of justice. In addition, according to the code, the country deprived of compliance, has no right to organize major competitions”, – said Niggli during a meeting of the Council of founders of WADA in Montreal.

Recall that back in August, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with members of the government that as a result of politicization of world sport and commercialization of the IOC there is degradation, which will lead to the creation of parallel structures in sport.

Earlier, Inside the Games quoted James McLeod, director of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) department for relations with National Olympic Committees (NOCs), as saying that the IOC was asking the NOCs of various countries to “be cautious about the World Friendship Games” scheduled to be held in Russia in 2024. McLeod said that any NOC participation in the Friendship Games would be contrary to the IOC’s recommendations, as well as “preserving the independence and autonomy of sport.”

The WADA executive committee decided on 22 September that RUSADA remains stripped of its full status due to non-compliance of state legislation with the World Anti-Doping Code, identified in a virtual audit in September 2022 and not remedied, to date. The WADA decision was to come into force on 14 October, but RUSADA disagreed and the case was referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

By the way, Russia and Belarus failed to pay the mandatory WADA contributions in 2023. Moscow’s contribution should have been $1.267 million, while Minsk – $46 thousand. Among the European countries, in addition to Russia and Belarus, WADA has not received contributions from Georgia, Iceland and Monaco, the rest of the countries have fully or partially made payments.

The size of Russia’s annual contribution is smaller than that of Canada (1.709 million), USA (3.419 million), Japan (1.502 million) and similar to that of France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain. All these countries have made their mandatory payments.

Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Sport reported that Russia wants to revise the system of payments to WADA, as their amount is affected by membership in the Council of Europe, which Russia is no longer a member of.

WADA president Vitold Banka said that RUSADA would not be automatically reinstated after December 17 because RUSADA does not comply with the organization’s code, including because the World Anti-Doping Code is not fully integrated into Russian laws.

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