Russia is a step closer to facing a possible ban of its athletes from the Winter Olympics in South Korea after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) upheld its decision that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) remains non-compliant.
Russia's anti-doping agency was initially deemed non-compliant after the 2016 publication of the McLaren report, commissioned by WADA, which found the Russian state conspired with athletes and sporting officials to undertake a doping program that was unprecedented in its scale and ambition – Russia's ministry for sport has repeatedly denied the report's findings.
In order to regain compliance, RUSADA had to follow a 32-point "roadmap."
However, WADA said Thursday it had failed to meet two of those conditions: to acknowledge an existence of a Russian state-sponsored doping program and to provide WADA access officers to a Moscow laboratory.
RUSADA director-general Yuri Ganus said the result "wasn't a surprise" but insisted that his team had "carried out the road map step by step, tracking each stage," and that the two unfulfilled points "go beyond our authority."
WADA President Craig Reedie said that any decision on whether Russian athletes will compete at Pyeongchang would come from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – the IOC's decision is expected to make its decision at an executive board meeting next month in Lausanne, Switzerland.