Russia banned from Tokyo Olympics and football World Cup
The World Anti-Doping Agency has voted unanimously to ban Russia from international sport for four years for doping offences.
Russia now have 21 days to appeal against the sentence, which would see the country banned from participating at next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo and the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
They will, however, still be able compete in next year’s European football championships, where they will also be one of the host countries. Individual Russian athletes will furthermore be able to compete under a neutral banner at the Olympics, providing they can prove they are drug free.
The punishment was agreed at a special meeting convened at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is the most severe sanction yet against the country, which has been accused of running a systemic doping programme and deleting crucial laboratory evidence.
Evidence of wide-spread Russian doping was first revealed by Wada four years ago with a report claiming that at least 643 positive tests had been hidden by authorities. That resulted in the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (Rusaf) and 111 individual athletes being banned from the 2016 games in Rio.
Last year Wada made the controversial decision to reinstate the Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) on the condition that it complied with requests to share its laboratory results. Those results were subsequently found to have been tampered with, and led to renewed calls for punishment.
If Russia, as is likely, does choose to appeal the punishment, it will subsequently be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.