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WADA warns Russia against interfering in anti-doping work

The ISTANBUL – World Anti-Doping Agency warned Russia not to interfere in drug tests in the country and on Wednesday asked to be filled a one-year vacancy at the top of the national anti-doping agency.

WADA President Witold Banka met on Wednesday with Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin in Turkey to negotiate the future of the still-suspended Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA.

“The need for RUSADA to maintain its independence is critical. The Russian state or sports authorities must not try to interfere in any of its operations,” Banka said in a statement.

“In this context, the appointment of RUSADA’s next Director General must follow a rigorous process to ensure that the right person is recruited for this important position and that they are able to function independently in the role.”

RUSADA remains suspended due to previous doping cover-ups and tampering with evidence. Russia competed at the Tokyo Olympics without its flag or anthem, and will do the same at next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, again using the name Russian Olympic Committee.

RUSADA has not had a permanent CEO since Yuri Ganus was fired in August 2020 due to financial irregularities. Ganus often criticized Russian sports authorities while in RUSADA, saying evidence against him appeared to be falsified.

WADA said the position was lifted during the meeting with Matytsin and remained a condition for lifting RUSADA’s suspension.

“Russia is interested in ensuring the stability of the global anti-doping system,” Matytsin said in a statement. “For us, it is important that the anti – doping agency does not become an object of political manipulation, as after all, athletes all over the world are threatened.”

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