‘Lynch mob’: Former WADA president slams response to Russia’s missed deadline

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Ex-WADA president Dick Pound has criticized the reaction to Russian anti-doping authorities missing their deadline to hand over data from a Moscow laboratory, likening it to that of a lynch mob.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was given a deadline of December 31, 2018, to provide the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) with access to data from the Moscow laboratory at the center of allegations of state-sponsored doping, as part of the deal to reinstate the Russian organization back in September after a three-year ban.

But when WADA officials arrived in December they were denied access as their equipment was not certified under Russian law.

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The response to Russia's missed deadline has seen 16 national anti-doping organizations call for RUSADA to be suspended again.

That response has been criticized by Pound, who told Inside The Games: "Many of those making up the mob know or should know that they are out of line.

"Many others are not familiar enough with the issues to have such strident views and still more have not bothered to inform themselves."

WADA's Compliance Review Committee is due to meet on January 14 to discuss the situation, with committee chairman Jonathan Taylor QC explaining the importance of following due process.

"It might be said that there is nothing to be considered, the non-compliance is plain, the reasons are irrelevant, so following due process is futile and therefore unnecessary," he said.

"But the courts do not like such arguments, and therefore the risk of successful challenge would be significant, which I don't think anyone would want."

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Pound, meanwhile, said some critics had an ulterior motive and instead the most important aspect of the entire case is the need for WADA to get the information they are pursuing, and to make a judgment based on that data, rather than any other issues encountered along the way.

"I think more attention needs to be focused on those supporting the mob rule and possible reasons for their conduct," he said.

"The real end-game here should be to obtain the requested data, to review it for evidence of possible doping cases that need to be pursued and to bring an end to a particularly sordid chapter of Russian conduct.

"It should also be a message that the rules apply to all countries.

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"No alternatives to a robust WADA have been proposed. In only 20 years of existence, WADA has significantly raised the standards of the global fight against doping in sport.

"Efforts to discredit and destroy WADA will not help the fight against doping in sport and the protection of clean athletes, despite the athlete-centered rhetoric. They will lead to the anarchy that existed before WADA was created.

"Perhaps the real agenda is that those who would destroy WADA do not want a robust and independent agency leading this fight for sporting integrity unless they can insert themselves into positions of power," Pound concluded.

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