FILE- In this Friday Dec. 9, 2016 file photo, World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren speaks during a press conference in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Canadian investigator says World Anti-Doping Agency got a bad deal from Russia

A Canadian lawyer says the World Anti-Doping Agency rushed into accepting a bad deal by reinstating the country’s drug-testing program.

The Canadian lawyer who investigated the state-backed doping scheme by Russia when it hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics said the World Anti-Doping Agency rushed into accepting a bad deal by reinstating the country’s drug-testing program.

Richard McLaren told The Associated Press he suspected there were “loopholes” in the deal which Russia could exploit to back out of its promises, including the pledge to give access to the Moscow lab sealed by federal investigators.

“They (WADA) have lost any kind of leverage over the ongoing situation with Russia,” McLaren said Friday in an interview at a law conference, one day after WADA’s decision angered many anti-doping officials and athletes. “They have been rushed into a decision which they may regret given the outbursts of the athletes around the world.”

McLaren said WADA also erred by failing to end Russian legal cases in three countries arising from his work. They include former Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko challenging his life ban from the Olympics.

“There’s lawsuits that should have been withdrawn,” said the law professor, who is a witness in Mutko’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. “At the very least, why wouldn’t you ask for them to be withdrawn? They left things on the table.”

Asked if he felt let down by WADA, McLaren said: “Somewhat, yes.”

Related: World Anti-Doping Agency reinstates Russia

Related: Despite protests, Russia’s anti-doping agency reinstated

The decision by WADA to reinstate Russia is a key step toward the country’s track and field team being welcomed back to international competitions such as the Olympics.

McLaren was appointed by WADA in 2016 to verify claims by Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov. The former Moscow laboratory director detailed Rodchenkov’s part in corrupting the 2014 Sochi Olympics to help the home team win more medals.

In two investigation reports, McLaren confirmed a state-backed scheme to swap tainted urine samples for clean ones through a hole in the wall at the Sochi lab run by Rodchenkov.

Russia has refused to uphold McLaren’s findings but recognized the report of an International Olympic Committee panel which shifted blame from state leaders.

In a victory Thursday for Russia, WADA agreed to reinstate the Russian drug-testing agency, known as RUSADA, by easing two strict conditions in a roadmap that had seemed non-negotiable: Accept McLaren’s report, and give access to the Moscow lab.

McLaren said he is skeptical about WADA’s compromise of setting Russia a Dec. 31 deadline to provide the lab’s trove of raw data, and a further six months to analyze samples that could prove doping by possibly hundreds of Russian athletes.

He said Russia could potentially use two tactics to block WADA — consent from the Kremlin-run Russian Investigative Committee, and invoking Russia’s criminal procedural code.

“There are two different possible outs there,” McLaren said, referring to a Sept. 13 letter from Russia’s current sports minister to WADA that paved the way to the compromise. “What those are, are just a lot of loopholes by which they can back out of and never actually do what they say could be done.”

The document was key to the eventual reinstatement of RUSADA, but strangely it was on plain paper with no sports ministry letterhead, putting in question whether the written promises are from the author only or the government.

McLaren called it a “private communication,” and questioned; “What happens when Minister (Pavel) Kolobkov is no longer the minister, which might happen any day now?”

If WADA’s demands are not met, the anti-doping agency could restore Russia’s non-compliant status. That could block Olympic sports federations from hosting events in the country.

Smaller governing bodies “are not going to go along with that,” McLaren said, “because Russia offers large sums of money if you locate your international events within Russia. That’s money that is invaluable to them, critically important.”

Though clearly disappointed with how some of his findings have been handled, McLaren pointed to improved investigations at track and field’s governing body, and ongoing doping cases in biathlon and cross-country skiing.

“It’s accomplished a lot,” he said, “and nobody has yet produced any contrary evidence that I am wrong.”

___

Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ballenas students launch fundraiser for U.S. travel to promote science experiment

Students’ experiment headed for International Space Station

Search is on for parties to build $10.7M Bowser sewage project

Further investigation of land disposal option rejected by RDN board

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

RDN dealing with high interest in backyard cannabis production

New policy proposed to address challenges with Health Canada licences

Qualicum Beach doles out Community Awards

Jacobson is Citizen of the Year; new mayor Wiese named top newsmaker

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Vehicle smashes through front of furniture store in Nanaimo

No injuries reported in Friday incident

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Most Read