WADA’s proposed 4-year ban of Russian flag violates athletes’ Human Rights: Sports Lawyer

WADA’s proposed 4-year ban of Russian flag violates athletes’ Human Rights: Sports Lawyer

Agency News

Athens, Nov 27 : The recommendation of the Compliance Review Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (CRC WADA) to ban Russian athletes from performing under the Russian flag at any major sports event for four years is a violation of their human rights under international law, a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Sports Law, Anatoly Peskov, told Sputnik.

On Monday, the WADA Compliance Review Committee recommended a number of punitive measures against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) for alleged non-compliance, saying that "Russia’s flag not be flown at any Major Event staged in the Four Year Period."

"Such punishment is not provided for in the Olympic Charter and directly contradicts Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which clearly stipulates that each person has a right to belong to their country and no court is entitled to change their citizenship. [Russian] athletes are denied this natural human right to belong to one's homeland and respect its flag. As if it was done deliberately to humiliate not only athletes but all citizens of the Russian Federation," Peskov said.

He added that such punitive measures also contradicted the principles of the Olympic Movement, as well as the "presumption of innocence" principle in the Russian constitution that stipulates that no one should be deemed guilty before their guilt is proven.

According to the lawyer, the WADA Executive Committee still has the option to disagree with the CRC recommendations and send them back for modifications twice. If, however, they adopt the recommendations right away, Russia will have 21 days to object, in which case WADA will refer the case to the International Court of Arbitration. The case can then be reviewed for up to three months.

The WADA Executive Committee is due to consider the proposed punitive measures at an emergency meeting on December 9. The recommendation stipulates that Russia should not have the right to host any editions of major sports events for four years or fly the Russian flag at competitions over the same period of time. Russian athletes would have to compete as neutrals.

Russia's athletics federation had been suspended for mass doping since November 2015. It was temporarily reinstated in September 2018 on the condition that it discloses all data from its Moscow laboratory.

In September 2019, WADA launched another non-compliance procedure against Russia and gave RUSADA three weeks to explain "inconsistencies" that the anti-doping watchdog found in probes received from the Moscow anti-doping laboratories earlier this year. After receiving the data from Moscow, WADA's investigation and intelligence department suspected that the records had been manipulated before being submitted. (UNI-SPUTNIK)