Russia, the host of the 2018 World Cup, has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from taking part in any major events for the next four years. It is not the first time that Russia is prohibited from the international scene as back in 2016, during the Rio Games, its track and field athletes were disallowed to take part in any sports matches. Russia also played no part in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Recently in December 2018, Russia was asked to submit some testing data from its Moscow laboratory to clarify the acquisition made against them.

What Actually Happened?

Earlier in 2015, there was a huge controversy that Russia Anti-Doping Agency was non-compliant with WADA’s rules and regulations. In 2018, the whole scene caught pace when Russia failed to submit proper data on time. The Russians were allowed some more time to submit doping details, which they did in January of 2019. When the investigators compared the reports given by the Russians, they found huge discrepancies when compared with previous reports. 

Who Made It Happen?

The proper movement started on 22nd November 2019 when WADA’s Compliance Review Committee recommended its executive committee to launch an investigation on Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency. On 9th December, the World Anti-Doping Agency had an executive meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland to discuss the finding of the review committee. There was a unanimous decision to bar Russia from participating in any upcoming international competitions till 2023. According to WADA, “hundreds of presumptive adverse analytical findings, supplied by the whistleblower had been removed, and the related underlying raw data and PDF files have been deleted or altered.”

What is the Effect of the Decision?

Under the ruling, Russia can’t take part in the 2020 Summer Olympics, 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, 2022 FIFA World Cup, or play any international sports matches. The Russian flag won’t be hoisted in any major events, they can’t host a sporting event, and all the Russian officials are barred from being a part of any international sports meetings. This includes every government official, including Vladimir Putin. 

According to WADA, Russians can compete if “they are able to demonstrate that they are not implicated in any way by the noncompliance (i.e., they are not mentioned in incriminating circumstances in the McLaren reports, there are no positive findings reported for them in the database, and no data relating to their samples has been manipulated).” 

Can Russia Take Part in World Cup 2022 and Euro 2020?

Technically, Russia has been handed a ban of four years, but their team could still play in the tournament if they qualify. All the athletes have to prove that they were not a part of the doping scandal. In that case, they will be able to compete under a neutral flag. Jonathan Taylor, chair of Wada’s compliance review committee said, “If they qualify, a team representing Russia cannot participate. But if there is a mechanism put in place, then they can apply to participate on a neutral basis, not as representatives of Russia.” 

Due to the same condition, St Petersburg will remain the host city for group matches and a quarter final of the Euro 2020. It also allows Russia to play in the Euro 2020 as they have already qualified for the tournament. By browsing over to the website, you can keep up with the latest football scores and sports results of the matches played by Russia and other countires. 

Can Russia Appeal Against the Decision?

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has been given 21 days to file an appeal against the decision and respond to the acquisitions made against them. Russia has the power to take the case to the Court of Arbitration of Sport, where a final decision would be made. Russia thinks that the WADA and the International Olympic Committee has been too hard on them. On the other hand, the anti-doping community from around the world says that no Russian should be allowed to enter international venues as they have no respect for the rules and guidelines. 

Before Russia makes the decision to go to the Court of Arbitration of Sport, nothing concrete could be said about the matter. However, if the same situation continues, Russia will be eligible for international competition only after the year 2024.