(ATR) Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren tells Around the Rings he is facing a lawsuit filed by a group of Russian athletes led by the former president of the Russian Rowing Federation, Veniamin But.
"I confirm that this has happened," said McLaren, who led an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate allegations of doping in Russian sport.
"The claim is also against WADA, but I have no other comments" said the lawyer in an email to ATR.
However, a WADA spokesperson denied that the agency has been sued by Russian athletes.
"WADA has not been presented with a claim by members of the Russian national rowing team," the official told ATR, adding that "the period of time for the notification of any claim has expired".
According to the Russian press, the demanding athletes consider that their "honor and dignity" have been harmed by the McLaren report and are asking for compensation of around $4.5 million.
The application documents for the lawsuit were filed with the Supreme Court of Ontario (Canada) in July 2018.
As part of an independent panel, McLaren presented two reports in 2016 about doping in Russia before, during and after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, in which he pointed out the role played by the government of the country, an accusation that Moscow denied.
According to that research, between 2011 and 2015 more than 1,000 Russian competitors in various sports (with the inclusion of summer, winter and Paralympic sports) benefited from the cover-up.
Many Russian athletes after those 2014 Games were disqualified, and their results canceled.
After the publication of the first part of the well-known McLaren report, many Russian athletes, including the rowers, were not able to participate in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In addition, Russian athletes were forced to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games as neutrals.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency was suspended from 2015 until September 2018, when it regained its status from WADA. On Jan. 22, in a controversial decision, the Executive Committee of WADA decided to maintain RUSADA’s compliance status despite Russia missing a deadline to turn over data from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory.
Speaking to the Russian press, But said that the recognition of the innocence of the athletes is the main objective behind the move.
But says the sum of $4.5 million is the equivalent to the cost of preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games that the athletes were forbidden to attend. He added that he has the necessary documents that confirm this.
Written by Miguel Hernandez
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