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Russia confirms appeal against Wada four-year doping ban

Russia’s anti-doping agency, Rusada, has announced it will appeal against the four-year doping sanctions barring the country from competing under its flag at top international sporting events.

The Rusada board voted on Thursday to file a case with the court of arbitration for sport (Cas) in Switzerland. The decision must be approved by another panel of Russian sports and anti-doping figures, but that seems a formality. Senior political figures including Vladimir Putin, the country’s president, had indicated they wanted an appeal filed.

The World Anti-Doping Agency sanctions include barring teams under a Russian flag from competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2020 and 2022 and the football World Cup in 2022, among other global sporting events. The country would also be blocked from hosting international sporting competitions. Individual athletes may be able to compete in events if they can prove they are not implicated or affected by the manipulated laboratory data which led to the sanctions being imposed.

“Rusada will appeal against the Wada decision within 10 to 15 days,” Alexander Ivlev, chair of Rusada’s supervisory board, told the Russian Tass news agency.

Yuri Ganus, the head of Rusada who is not a member of the supervisory board, has said he does not see any chance of winning an appeal.

Russia, which has traditionally been a powerhouse in many sports, has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 Wada report found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.

Many of Russia’s athletes were sidelined from the past two Olympics and the country stripped of its flag altogether at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.

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