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WADA completes RUSADA audit but still no access to lab

WADA completes RUSADA audit but still no access to lab
Olivier Niggli, Director General of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) attends the WADA Symposium in Ecublens, near Lausanne, Switzerland, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse -
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DENIS BALIBOUSE(Reuters)
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(Reuters) - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Wednesday it had completed an audit of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) as required following the tainted body's conditional reinstatement.

Over two days a three-person WADA delegation inspected the premises, processes and practices of RUSADA and will file a report highlighting any issues.

Details of the audit were not made public.

WADA director general Olivier Niggli described the audit as an important step along the way to RUSADA again becoming a fully trusted anti-doping partner.

But a major hurdle still must be cleared with RUSADA yet to allow WADA inspectors into the former Moscow laboratory and access the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and underlying data.

WADA has set a Dec. 31 deadline for RUSADA to meet the condition or once again be found non-compliant and face even tougher sanctions laid out in the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories.

RUSADA was suspended in 2015 after a WADA-commissioned report that outlined evidence of massive state-backed, systematic doping in Russian athletics, allegations which Moscow denied.

WADA readmitted RUSADA in September, angering sports bodies around the globe, but said a failure to allow access to the Moscow laboratory would lead to a renewed ban.

"A huge amount of good work has been going on behind the scenes to ensure RUSADA has the level of expertise, good practice and independence required," said Niggli in a statement.

"Establishing a strong RUSADA is very important for clean sport."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Martyn Herman)

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