WADA hits back at the IOC

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has slammed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the body’s president Thomas Bach questioned the timing of the release of the McLaren Report. 

The McLaren Report, which was made public on July 18, revealed that Russia had been running a state-sponsored doping, but the IOC believes that WADA should have acted sooner after receiving evidence from Russian whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova.

In response, WADA president Sir Craig Reedie defended the way in which the agency handled the evidence provided to them and the timing of the McLaren report.

“It was only when CBS 60 Minutes and the New York Times, on 8 and 12 May 2016 respectively, published the allegations from the former director of the Moscow and Sochi laboratories, Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, that WADA had concrete evidence suggesting Russian state involvement that could be investigated by initiating the McLaren Investigation, which we did immediately,” Reedie said in a statement on Monday.

“It must be understood that Dr Rodchenkov was heard several times by the Pound Commission in 2015 and that he never provided the information that he later revealed to the New York Times in May 2016. This information was subsequently corroborated by the McLaren Investigation, which also unveiled a wider implication of the Moscow laboratory.

“WADA’s executive committee – composed in equal parts by representatives of the Olympic movement and Governments of the world – supported Professor McLaren’s independent mandate, which was to obtain evidence as quickly as possible in the interest of clean athletes.

“While it is destabilising in the lead up to the Games, it is obvious, given the seriousness of the revelations that he uncovered, that they had to be published and acted upon without delay.”

WADA director general Olivier Niggli echoed Reedie’s sentiments, saying: “Further to the International Olympic Committee’s criteria being outlined on 24 July, WADA has facilitated the transfer of relevant information that is available to date, concerning individual athletes, from the McLaren Investigation team to International Federations.

“It should be noted however that Professor McLaren’s focus thus far was on establishing involvement of the Russian State and not regarding individual athletes that may have benefited.

“WADA will continue supporting anti-doping organizations by providing information as and when it becomes available via McLaren’s ongoing Investigation.”

The McLaren report had recommended that a blanket ban be put in place for Russian athletes competing at the Olympics, which starts on Friday, but instead of heeding the advice, the IOC decided to allow international federations to make a judgment on whether Russian athletes should be given the green light to compete in their respective sports.

The IOC also established an independent panel to make a final decision on the verdicts the international federations made.