Putin on WADA ban: Anti-doping agency wrong to punish all Russian athletes for individuals' mistakes

Putin on WADA ban: Anti-doping agency wrong to punish all Russian athletes for individuals
# 19 December 2019 15:16 (UTC +04:00)

Earlier, the WADA Executive Committee decided to ban Russian athletes from participating in the Olympic Games for four years, APA reports citing Sputnik.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at the annual press conference, said that any punishment should be individual and that all Russian athletes should not be punished for the wrongdoings of some.

Vladimir Putin called the decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to remove Russia from international sports not consistent with common sense or law and bearing a political connotation.

"As for the WADA decision, it does not correspond to common sense and law, and as for doping, the decision was made regarding the participation of our athletes under the neutral flag at the last Olympics, now for the same thing again," Putin said.

He explained that the ban was unfair to various Russian athletes who were not involved in the doping scandal, including those who competed in the Winter 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang under a neutral flag.

"If someone is caught doing something, then it is normal and fair [to punish them. But if most of our athletes are clean, how can [WADA] sanction them for others’ actions?" Putin said.

The president added that WADA’s ban went against the Olympic charter.

"A country’s team should not compete under a neutral flag if there are no factual claims against the current Olympic committee," Putin said.

On 9 December, WADA unanimously voted to ban Russia from participating in and hosting any major sporting events as punishment for what it said were serious manipulations and deletions of data in athlete test results under WADA investigation.

WADA also ruled that only "clean" Russian athletes would be allowed to compete under a neutral status, without the Russian flag or anthem, while Russian government officials and representatives would be banned from attending any major international sporting events. Additionally, WADA declared RUSADA non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.