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Russia has been handed a 4-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This means that the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar. However, athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.

WADA’s Executive Committee made the unanimous decision in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. It comes after Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019. It was required to hand over data to WADA as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a 3-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal. Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said the decision showed WADA’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis.

He added: “For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada’s reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered.”

“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.”

Rusada now has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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