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WADA votes to reinstate RUSADA subject to conditions

Key Points
  • WADA has overwhelmingly voted to welcome back Russians following 2015 ban.
  • The return is dependent on access to a Moscow laboratory.
Russia's flag-bearer Alexander Zubkov leads his country's contingent during the athletes' parade at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 7, 2014.
Phil Noble | Reuters

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has voted, subject to certain conditions, to lift the ban on Russia's anti-doping authority (RUSADA), which was suspended in 2015 following allegations of widespread state-sponsored doping.

In a widely-expected but heavily-criticized decision, WADA said that one of the key sticking points - access to stored urine samples at RUSADA's Moscow laboratory - still needed to be provided.

The suspension could be reintroduced if this did not happen within "a clear timeline", it added.

"Today, the great majority of the WADA Executive Committee (EXCO) decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, subject to strict conditions," WADA President Craig Reedie said following a meeting in the Seychelles.

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 in Russian athletics.

The allegations, which Moscow has denied, led to Russia being banned from this year's winter Olympics in South Korea with some Russian athletes permitted to compete under the Olympic flag.