The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has lifted its ban on a Russia’s anti-doping authority despite fierce opposition.
The decision has been met with disappointment and anger, with athletes and anti-doping leaders calling it a blow to clean sport.
“It’s a pretty depressing decision. [It’s] pretty disappointing for clean athletes,” said David Howman, former director general of WADA.
Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA has been suspended since 2015 after an independent WADA-commissioned report cited evidence of alleged state-sponsored doping.
The agency’s reinstatement comes with “strict” conditions, according to a WADA statement.
"Today, the great majority of the (12-person) WADA Executive Committee (EXCO) decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, subject to strict conditions," WADA President Craig Reedie said in a statement.
RUSADA will be required to follow a timeline in which it will provide WADA with access to its anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.
Mr Howman, who now chairs the Athletics Integrity Unit, told RadioLIVE that the decision contradicts WADA’s principal values.
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“WADA stands for clean athletes, and yet in this hour of need they really should’ve stood up for them.”
According to Mr Howman, the decision was last-minute “compromise” put on the table.
Jim Walden, lawyer for Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, called the move "the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history".
Last week, WADA’s compliance review committee advised the reinstatement after Russia’s sports ministry had acknowledged its failures.
The reinstatement makes way for Russia to put in a bid for world sporting events, and for the country’s track team to be declared compliant by that sport's international governing body.
Listen to the full interview with David Howman above.
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