The decision by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) not to appeal a two-year ban from sporting events won’t put an end to the doping saga and Russia should expect new attacks, especially from the US, analysts told RT.
On Monday, RUSADA announced that despite the punishment imposed on it being “wholly unsubstantiated and unjustified” it wasn’t going to challenge the December ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The agency said it was putting the interests of Russian athletes first, as they are still allowed to compete as neutrals without their national flag or anthem.
“I don’t think RUSADA had any other decision to make… The decision was pretty much made for it,” Ellis Cashmore, professor of sociology at Aston University and a former sports and media lecturer, told RT.
The two year ban was slapped on RUSADA over accusations that it manipulated laboratory data it sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for its reinstatement, following a major doping scandal which erupted after the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
Russia could have appealed against the CAS ruling, but it would’ve required new evidence which “it doesn’t have,” Cashmore said. Pointing out technical inaccuracies in the procedures of the Swiss court would’ve also unlikely brought the desired result, he added.
At this time in history, I think Russia was quite sensible just to say: ‘We’re maintaining our innocence. We don’t agree with it, but we’ll take it on the chin.
Sports columnist Alan Moore said that while it would be ideal to have Russian athletes “competing under their own flag – the same as any other nationality,” at least Russia was now only in for a two year ban, rather than the harsher four-year suspension previously on the cards.
The fact is, he added, that most athletes are still “going to be happy to compete” even without their flag, especially if it’s their job and their livelihood depends on it, Moore said. “Ultimately, the athlete is competing for him or herself.”
“The rest of the world should say: ‘Please, give them a chance and let’s do it clean. Let’s all compete on the same level,’” he said.
Cashmore, however, believes that starting anew won’t be that easy for the country’s athletes, given that “the very fact that they come from Russia carries a stigma” in the eyes of their rivals and international sporting bosses.
According to him, the announcement by RUSADA isn’t the end of the doping saga, but “just the end of this phase of the saga” and attacks on Russia and its athletes may continue.
“World opinion is against Russia, let’s not kid ourselves here… Anybody who is interested in politics in sports is looking for Russia to just make some kind of slip up – however minor. And the world of sport will come down on it like a ton of bricks,” Cashmore said.
One of those urging for more sanctions against Russia will most likely be the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Moore pointed out.
“You can bet your bottom dollar or your last kopek that there’ll be more to come from USADA because they are desperate to rule; to take the gravy train of anti-doping under their control,” he said, adding that attacking Russia “makes them look clean.”
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