WADA shares Moscow lab evidence with Olympic sports bodies
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Evidence from a Moscow laboratory database has been shared by World Anti-Doping Agency investigators with international sports bodies who must decide on prosecuting Russian athletes for doping.
Described by WADA on Thursday as “valuable new intelligence,” evidence from the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) database can implicate athletes in the Russian system of covering up positive doping tests detailed by investigator Richard McLaren.
Top officials from biathlon and skiing were among governing bodies attending a six-hour, closed-door session with WADA investigators which could yet lead to more Russian athletes being barred from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
″(T)he names of the athletes and related performance-enhancing substances per the LIMS, affidavits, expert legal opinion and multiple other lists populated by data from the LIMS and other sources” was provided to Olympic sports officials, WADA said in a statement.
McLaren’s work in two reports published last year ultimately led the International Olympic Committee to impose sanctions on Russia last week for corrupting the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
However, McLaren aimed to prove the existence of a wider doping system. Individual athlete cases are the duty of sports governing bodies.
“Cases that may have previously hit a dead end can be resumed and new cases can be initiated — a number of which we believe will result in athletes being sanctioned,” WADA director of investigations Guenter Younger said in the agency’s statement.
The Moscow database was acquired in October by WADA which believed it contained all testing data from January 2012-August 2015.
Younger’s team has “forensically reconstructed the database; determined its authenticity; uncovered and analyzed its hidden content,” WADA said.
FIFA was among the sports bodies represented at the WADA-hosted meeting at a Lausanne hotel.
“FIFA is expecting further information to be provided by WADA in the coming months,” soccer’s world body said in a statement that promised “exploring every possible avenue.”
Evidence previously published by McLaren suggested the Moscow lab included members of Russia’s 2014 World Cup squad among athletes to be protected if they tested positive, though it was not clear if the plan was ever put into action
Some players in that 2014 squad are in contention for selection to the 2018 tournament hosted by Russia.
Younger said his team would be a “collaborative partner” with sports bodies.
“It is now over to them to diligently follow up on this new intelligence. We will be available to advise and guide each federation in the handling of their respective cases,” Younger said.
The database evidence helped a panel appointed by the International Olympic Committee to conclude last week that Russian agencies did orchestrate a doping program.
It is expected to include data of potentially hundreds of positive tests in Moscow which were intercepted before being input into the global anti-doping system as clean.
McLaren detailed that the lab reported positive tests to the sports ministry which issued “save” orders to protect an athlete.
“While the LIMS data alone may not always be sufficient to establish an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), this is very credible evidence that can be used in combination with other evidence to form a sufficiently strong case,” Younger said.
Younger did not comment when leaving the closed-door session to attend a briefing at IOC headquarters.
He was meeting with a panel chaired by Valerie Fourneyron, the former sports minister of France, that will decide which Russian athletes to invite to compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.