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European Athletics head concerned about RUSADA reinstatement

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(Reuters) – European Athletic Association President Svein Arne Hansen voiced his disquiet on Saturday at the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision to reinstate Russia’s anti-doping authority.

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.

WADA had said RUSADA would not be reinstated until it satisfied key criteria on a “roadmap for return”, including recognising the findings of the McLaren Report and allowing access to stored urine samples at RUSADA’s Moscow laboratory, but lifted the ban on Thursday.

“Like many in the sport of athletics, I am concerned about Thursday’s decision of the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),” Hansen said in a statement.

“This decision, following a compromise on the conditions of the Roadmap for reinstatement originally set out by WADA, was presumably meant to move the situation forward but appears instead to be a backward step.”

Despite WADA’s decision, the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) remains in place.

The IAAF set out its own criteria for the reinstatement of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) and said the latest move by WADA fulfilled one of three pre-conditions.

“Having spoken with the Chairman of the European Athletics Athlete’s Commission, I know that the members share my disquiet,” Hansen added.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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