Russian President Vladimir Putin says the decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to remove Russia from international sports is inconsistent with common sense or law and bearing a political connotation.
Putin, speaking at an annual press conference on Thursday, said any punishment should be individual and that all Russian athletes should not be punished for the wrongdoings of some.
“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.’’
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?.’’
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.’’
On Dec. 9, WADA unanimously voted to ban Russia from participating in and hosting any major sporting events.
It said it was a 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.
It added that Russian government officials and representatives would be banned from attending any major international sports events.
Additionally, WADA declared RUSADA non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.