Russia Should Be Suspended From Athletics: Doping Report

Russia should be suspended from international athletics competitions, a new report concludes. The report alleges widespread doping and cover-ups by Russian athletes and officials.

Prepared by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the report identifies "systemic failures" within both Russia and the athletics governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The report says the failings "prevent or diminish the possibility of an effective anti-doping program."

It also said the 2012 Olympic Games in London were "sabotaged" because Russian athletes were allowed to compete even though they were likely to have been doping.

The commission behind the report was chaired by a former WADA president, Dick Pound. The report accused Russia's anti-doping laboratory of intentionally destroying 1,417 test samples from athletes and recommended that the laboratory be declared non-compliant with WADA's anti-doping code. It also recommended that five Russian runners be given lifetime doping bans.

In an emailed statement, IAAF President Sebastian Coe called the report's contents "alarming" and said he had initiated the process by which sanctions could be imposed on the All Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF).

ARAF and the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) were unavailable to comment immediately on the report's findings.

The report investigated claims of widespread doping and bribery first reported by German broadcaster ARD, according to the BBC. ARD said up to 99 percent of Russian athletes were guilty of doping and that Russian officials had accepted payment from athletes to both supply banned substances and cover up positive tests.

The world of athletics is facing widespread criticism following a series of allegations of doping and malpractice. In August, ARD and British newspaper the Sunday Times alleged that more than 800 athletes between 2001 and 2012 had suspicious blood test data that could indicate doping.

The accusations were based on a massive leak of blood test data from the IAAF, which rejected as "sensationalist and confusing" allegations that it failed in its duties to follow up on suspicious blood tests. The WADA report did not comment on these allegations, but Pound said the commission hoped to issue an update by the end of 2015.

Earlier in November, former IAAF President Lamine Diack—who was replaced by Britain's Sebastian Coe in August—and several other senior figures were placed under investigation by French police on suspicion of taking around 1 million euros ($1.1 million) from Russia's athletics federation to cover up positive doping tests.

Diack is an honorary member of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). The IOC's ethics commission on Monday recommended that Diack be provisionally suspended from this role.

In a separate development, the IAAF's ethics commission has launched disciplinary charges against four people—including Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack—for various breaches of the organization's code of ethics. The charges relate to Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova, who recently completed a doping ban that was shortened after she assisted the IAAF in its investigations.

Ahead of the WADA report published in Geneva on Monday, one of its co-authors told the Sunday Times that corruption within athletics was on "a whole different scale" that that exposed in football's world governing body, FIFA.

While reported corruption in FIFA appears to have benefited officials financially without influencing results on the pitch, "here you potentially have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of extra money in their pockets...but also caused significant changes to actual results and final standings" in competitions, said Richard McLaren, a sports lawyer and professor at Western Law University in Canada.

The task of cleaning up athletics falls to former Olympic champion Coe, who also spearheaded London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Coe told Reuters on Sunday that his job was to "rebuild trust in our sport," but said athletics faced "a long road to redemption" following the recent series of allegations. Coe also denied that he knew anything about the alleged offences committed by Diack, despite serving as an IAAF vice-president for half of Diack's 16-year reign as IAAF president.