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WADA votes to reinstate RUSADA subject to conditions
The ban on Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA was lifted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Sept. 20, subject to various conditions, in a decision greeted with dismay by campaigners. Although the change will have no immediate effect on current bans on the Russian federations for athletics, weightlifting, and paralympics, it opens the door for their return, following the reinstatement of the Russian Olympic Committee after the country was banned from this year's Winter Games in South Korea. RUSADA was suspended in November 2015 after an independent WADA report carried out by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren outlined evidence of massive state-backed, systematic doping, and cover-ups in Russian sport. Since then WADA has repeatedly said RUSADA would not be reinstated until it satisfied various key criteria on a "roadmap for return," including recognizing the findings of the McLaren Report and allowing access to stored urine samples at RUSADA's Moscow laboratory. At the WADA executive committee meeting in the Seychelles on Sept. 20, members approved a lesser version of the first point—a partial acceptance of the IOC's version of the McLaren Report—and set another "clear timeline" for the implementation of the second. That means that, after remaining banned for refusing access to the Moscow lab, RUSADA is now approved, but could be banned again if access continued to be denied. "Today, the great majority of the (12-person) WADA Executive Committee (EXCO) decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, subject to strict conditions," WADA President Craig Reedie said in a statement. RUSADA director-general Yuri Ganus told Reuters that more work needed to be done to secure the reinstatement but said the Sept. 20 decision was a positive sign for Russia's suspended track and field athletes, weightlifters, and paralympians. While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reinstated Russia in February, the International Association of Athletics Federations' suspension remains in place.