The World Anti-Doping Agency has unanimously decided that Russia will be banned from global sporting events for the next four years following revelations of state-run doping programmes in previous events.
The ban will include the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Winter Olympics of 2022 and, most-surprising of all, the 2022 World Cup. This punishment is the most severe seen in response to a cheating scheme which has ravaged global sport.
The punishment does not prohibit Russian athletes competing in the Olympics, rather they will compete under the Olympic flag as OARs, or Olympic Athletes from Russia. The ban does include specific bans on Russian sports and government officials and prohibits the country from hosting international events.
Despite clear evidence which shows the extent of state-sponsored doping, Russia are certain to appeal the decision made by WADA. Russian officials have 21 days to appeal the decision to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The decision taken by WADA is based on a scheme which Russian anti-doping experts and members of the country’s intelligence service replaced urine tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
These punishments come after WADA received recommendations from a committee led by British lawyer Jonathan Taylor. The recommendations included a four-year ban from global sporting events and allowing Russian athletes to compete though only under the Olympic flag, though only if the athletes have never been implicated in a doping scandal.
The recommendations also include the barring of Russian government officials and representatives from attending major events or from serving on the board of any organisation that has signed the global anti-doping code. It also prevents Russia from applying to host any international sporting events and that any global event set to be hosted in Russia must be moved.