Russia appeals 'unfounded' ban from major sporting competitions

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By Alice Tidey
A sign reading "Russian National Anti-doping Agency RUSADA" on a building in Moscow, Russia.
A sign reading "Russian National Anti-doping Agency RUSADA" on a building in Moscow, Russia.   -  Copyright  Associated Press/Alexander Zemlianichenko   -   Alexander Zemlianichenko

Russia has appealed the decision from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to ban the country from all major sporting competitions over the next four years.

The appeal was lodged in a letter, dated on Friday, from the head of Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to WADA's Director-General.

"RUSADA herewith disputes the Notice in its entirety, including WADA's assertion of non-compliance, the (alleged) facts upon which such assertion is based, as well as the sanctions and reinstatement conditions set out in the Notice, all of which are unfounded," Yury Ganus wrote.

WADA slapped Russia with the ban on December 9 after finding RUSADA non-compliant following an independent investigation which found further inconsistencies in the data provided by the Russia agency in January 2019.

Russia had been reinstated into global sport in 2018 after a three-year suspension over a state-sponsored doping scandal.

The latest sanction means that the Russian flag or anthem will be banned from major competitions including the upcoming Summer and Winter Olympics and well as the 2022 Football World Cup. The country will also not be able to host or bid to host any major competition.

The ban doesn't prevent Russian athletes from competing however, although they will have to be cleared by their respective governing bodies.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie had said in a statement at the time that "for too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport".

"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial," he added.

The case will now be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.