The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned Russia from all major sporting events for four years. The ban includes the 2020 Olympic Games and the 2022 Football World Cup, but the Russian football team can still play in the Euro 2020. It is an unprecedented decision by WADA, let’s see the main reasons why Russia was banned from the Olympics.
There were worrying signs before WADA’s decision, that there are major issues in Russian sport, which can have serious consequences. Russian athletes couldn’t take part in the last Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. They could only compete under a neutral banner, not representing their country. The same happens now unless they withdraw or modify the ban. Surely Russia will appeal against it at the Court of Arbitration of Sport, as the odds of 1.208 also suggest it.
Doping is one of the reasons why Russia was banned from the Olympics
Doping in Russia goes back to the Soviet times when apparently the KGB helped to cover the doping of the Russian athletes. You can read more about this era in our previous article. In the post-soviet era, the issues started again in 2008. That’s when they suspended track and field athletes. It happened just before the Beijing Olympics as a result of their manipulation of the urine samples. There were cases with blood doping and usage of EPO, a performance increasing hormone. Some Russian officials were also suggesting that a state-sponsored doping system was working in the country. Following up on these allegations, German channel ARD made a report, which highlighted several issues. For example about Russian athletics officials who provided banned substances in exchange for 5% of the athletes’ earnings.
WADA suspended the Russian Anti Doping Agency in 2014. More cases were coming to light after about doping from different sports, like football, swimming or even paralympic sports. Though the maker of the report later withdrew it, Russian athletes have lost their medals from the Sochi Olympics after rechecking their samples. While track and field athletes could only compete as neutral in the Rio Olympics. Then the Russian Olympic Committee had been suspended from the 2018 Winter Olympics, and the same ban was applied for every Russian athlete competing there.
Russian officials were covering up the traces
Probably an even more serious reason why Russia was banned from the Olympics was the behavior of the officials. In 2018 the Russian Anti Doping Agency has been reinstalled, but only with a condition that it will share its data from its Moscow laboratory with WADA. Firstly, they missed the deadline, and only provided the information two weeks later. But even worse, they sent altered data to the agency. So they haven’t just tried to cover up the traces but also tried to mislead the investigators.
Not everyone’s happy about WADA’s decision
Many athletes and sport leaders have expressed their disappointment about the decision. They think it is not as strict as it should be. As WADA suggested a blanket-ban, disallowing every Russian athlete from competing, but now the door has been left open. As any Russian athlete who can prove that he/she is clear can take part in the competitions. It is also allowing Russia’s participation at 2020 Euros and holding games in St Petersburg during the tournament.
For obvious reasons, Russian athletes are not happy either. Some of them are accusing Russian officials of not doing everything they could to avoid WADA’s punishment. You can feel sorry for them, as they need to choose between being a patriot or competing under neutral rules.
One thing is sure, I wouldn’t bet on the Russian state to admit the presence of a state-sponsored doping system. But you can do, if you really want, on online sportsbooks in Russia with the odds of 7.80. And if you feel like betting more, you can also guess if Vladimir Putin will dismiss the minister of sport, Pavel Kolobkov before the 1st of June 2020. With the odds of 2.72 at 22Bet if it happens. To learn more about betting, you can also read our review about 22Bet sportsbook.