— Published 11 October 2021

Moscow laboratory steps back


One step forward, two steps back for Russian sport. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced in a statement that the Moscow laboratory has lost its authority to analyse “blood samples as part of the athlete’s biological passport programme”. It had already been provisionally suspended since January 2020. It was confirmed by WADA’s executive committee at the end of last week, on the recommendation of a disciplinary committee. As a result, “the laboratory remains prohibited from conducting any activity related to the analysis of blood samples in the context of the Athlete Biological Passport and from performing any other form of anti-doping analysis for organisations that are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code”, the Montreal-based agency insists. Under the rules, the Moscow laboratory has 21 days from the decision to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In practice, this new suspension does not change much in the current situation of Russian sport, which has been excluded from the Olympic movement for two years, until December 2022. But it does complicate the task of its leaders a little more. In mid-September, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin met for the first time with WADA President Witold Banka to discuss the conditions for Russia’s return to the sport. Clearly, the road ahead is still long and uncertain.