The WADA Executive Committee, which met today at a meeting in Lausanne, decided to exclude our country from participating in world championships and the Olympic Games for four years. Our athletes will not be able to perform under the national flag and with a hymn. In addition, Russia is deprived of the right to host international championships. Only clean athletes will be allowed to tournaments but only in neutral status. Our country has three weeks to appeal. At the same time, WADA officials have already clarified that the Euro 2020 matches and the Champions League final, scheduled in Russia, are not subject to new restrictions. As for other major competitions – for example, the World Hockey Championship, scheduled in Russia in 2023 – the decision will be made by the International Federation. And the hockey president has already stated that he is an opponent of collective punishment. A report from Asa Esemlyanova. The decision is harsh, expected, but its “creators” leave the meeting disappointed by its lack of severness. WADA vice president Linda Helleland almost cried out of frustration. She dreamed of complete disqualification of both Russia & Russian athletes, even in a neutral status. You said that you are not happy? Yes, I am not happy. The document for which the WADA Executive Committee voted – copy-pasted the November recommendations of the Compliance Committee: Russia as a country – is suspended from participation in major international competitions, and it has no right to compete for four years at home either. Russian athletes without doping in the past will be allowed to compete, but the proposal is to make the admission scheme and the award ceremony like the one at the Pyeongchang Olympics – as clean and as neutral as possible. Francesco Ricci Bitti was the only one who tried to convince his colleagues until the last moment. Now Russia is being convinced to challenge the decision in all possible instances. “There is an opportunity for Russian athletes, and this is important!” “Was everyone objective or was there a lot of politics inside this decision?” “Of course, there is politics. Sport is very important today and it is not possible without politics” “But did you try to convince your colleagues?” “I spoke with everyone, but the decision is what it is. But there is arbitration, Russia must file with the CAS [Sports Arbitration Court in Lausanne], ” RUSADA (Russian Antidoping Agency) has 21 days to disagree with the decision. Automatically, this will mean arbitration, and this is not weeks but months long. Thus, Russia does not risk the winter world championships, including biathlon in Italy this February. In January, our team also goes to the Youth Olympics in Lausanne. If we fail to challenge the decision, in the future we will lose the Hockey championship in St. Petersburg in 2023 and the Volleyball one in 2022, but we will fight for our flag and for the anthemat the Olympic Games in Beijing and Tokyo. The OCD’s position remains unchanged: sanctions are inadequate, illogical, and excessive – Mr Pozdnyakov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee We will do our best to make possible for the Olympic team to appear in Japan under the colors of the Russian tricolor. Moreover, there are no complaints against the Russian Olympic Committee. It is not entirely clear how Russia can be removed from the Olympics without removing the committee? This dilemma remains to be resolved by the International Olympic Committee, which has already hastened to make a statement that the WADA decision will be supported: The lawyers have a lot of work to do – Russia will use all the resources to appeal the decision – in each case, before each competition, before every start, as well as before the Olympics. That is, you can appeal to the same IOC? “Not everything is lost yet?” “In fact, the procedure is still ongoing, that is, the decision has been made, but the question of legal arguments will be challenged,” Sergey Hrychikov, member of the RUSADA Supervisory Board. Comments and sharing of medals began immediately – more details have not appeared yet. The biathlete of the Swedish national team is already trying to remove our athletes not only from the February World Cup but even from the stages of the World Cup. “If they are not allowed to participate in the World Cup, then they should not play in the World Cup. It will be strange if they continue to play in the World Cup but will be removed from the World Cup stage events,” Sebastian Samuelson. However the Frenchman Martin Fourcade, who seemed to have a grudge against our biathletes, on the contrary, writes: What kind of biathlon is without Russia? “I think Russia will be punished … I lost a couple of medals because of Russia. The punishment should be severe, but at the same time, it’s important so that Russia remains strong in winter sports. This is important. Russia must perform in biathlon and must be represented in sports. What sport and what Olympics without Russia? The question that opponents have been asking “indiscriminately” for four years now. It was the same before Rio and before Pyeongchang. It seemed that Russia had long served its sentence; a year ago, RUSADA was reinstated, but we are again being punished for the old sins. The main charge this time is the doping test database of the Moscow Laboratory in 2015. It was transferred as modified at WADA. No one understood for whom it was beneficial. They did not listen to an independent examination, which proved that the program element of distortion was introduced into the experimental system LIMS – a high-profile development of the Moscow laboratory under the leadership of Grigory Rodchenkov. To blackmail athletes, officials, replace samples, Rodchenkov not only fled to the States, becoming a WADA informant, he may have personally made changes from across the ocean with a super-administrator password, and this can be done without leaving any traces in the system. I believe that this case cannot be compared with Rodchenkov’s database in principle because this database is generally illegal. It is unknown to anyone who got it. Charges have been brought on the basis of this database. Can you imagine a normal criminal or civil process based on someone’s stolen base? It’s unclear where it came from. It’s unclear why it is taken as the basis. Our experts gave convincing evidence to the questions that were unfortunately not heard – Pavel Kolobkov, Minister of Sport. The spreading of info that was actively discussed in the media before the decision of the WADA executive committee is wrong because it is undisguised pressure on members of the executive committee. Repeated appearances by UKADA and USADA. What it can be called, if not undisguised pressure on members of the commission? This is pressure – Dmitry Svishchev, president of the Russian Curling Federation. The story is old, but everything is at stake – both current experienced and young athletes whom WADA is trying to strip away of medals, flag and anthem. Young athletes, who were still at school at that time and had just started playing sports, are currently deprived of the opportunity to participate under the Russian flag. We understand that this issue is politicized. Sport has already entered politics more than vice versa. Sport should be out of politics – Vladimir Drachev, president of the Russian Biathlon Union. It’s a shame, because for some it is the last Olympics in life, for someone it is the first – Ilgar Mammadov, head coach of the Russian fencing team. Not only RUSADA, but all the federations preparing the championships can also disagree with the decision. WADA decision will not affect Euro 2020 – this is a regional tournament, but in what form will our team go to Qatar, to the World Cup, if it gets qualified? There are a lot of questions to WADA, the arbitration court should deal with them – . We continue to prepare for four matches to be held in St. Petersburg this summer. We received such assurances, including from WADA representatives, in response to relevant questions. This is the logic of this organization since the EURO2020 is a continental championship. We hope that the same logic will be applied to the qualifying games for the final part of the World Cup, which will be held in Qatar – Alexei Sorokin, Director General of the Euro 2020 Organizing Committee. If the proceedings in the arbitration court drag out, it may turn out that this story will not affect the Olympics in Tokyo, but Paris 2024. Russia and the federations have 21 days to start fighting.