— Published 16 September 2021

WADA warns Russia


It is time for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to set the record straight on its relations with Russia. Its president, the Pole Witold Banka, met for the first time since Russia’s suspension with the Russian Sports Minister, Oleg Matytsin, on Wednesday, February 15th, in Turkey. The meeting remained courteous. But the communiqué published by WADA at the end of this exchange leaves little room for doubt: Russia will have to stick to the rules. In essence, WADA warned Russia not to obstruct the doping tests carried out on its soil. It also invites the country to find a new director general of the National Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) as soon as possible. This position has been vacant for a year now, since Yuri Ganus was fired, officially for financial irregularities. But Witold Banka insists that his appointment will have to follow a rigorous process to ensure that the right person is hired. The recruitment of a director general for RUSADA is even high on WADA’s list of conditions for Russia’s reintegration into the Olympic movement. Witold Banka also repeated that RUSADA will have to maintain its independence and that no interference from the Russian sports authorities or the Russian state will be tolerated in its operations.