WADA President Denies Rift with IOC Chief

(ATR) Craig Reedie says "no division of views" between IOC, WADA in call for quick decision on Russian Olympic status.

(ATR) Craig Reedie tells Around the Rings there is "no division of views" between the IOC and WADA as he calls for a quick decision on Russia’s participation at PyeongChang 2018.

The WADA chief will meet Thomas Bach for lunch on Monday where they will discuss the progress of anti-doping reforms as well as Russia’s efforts to regain compliance with the WADA code in time for next February's Winter Games.

"We both want all of these issues resolved," Reedie told ATR ahead of his meeting with Bach at SportAccord in Aarhus, Denmark.

The British IOC member said there was "nothing significant" in his meeting with Bach, who he talks with on a "regular basis". The pair have had their differences of opinion in a turbulent 12 months for the anti-doping movement.

The WADA boss was on the end of stinging IOC criticism at the session in Rio last August, attacks which came in the wake of the two McLaren reports exposing state-sponsored doping in Russia. He was accused of being weak in the fight against doping.

But Reedie has since weathered the storm and is guiding WADA’s progress on a roadmap of reforms to strengthen the worldwide anti-doping movement.

In next week’s talks, he will urge the IOC president to accelerate decision-making on whether to ban Russia from the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

"I think they should do this as soon as they can," he said, adding that it was "in the interests of the competition and athletes".

Reedie refused to be drawn when asked if Russia should be allowed to participate at the Games next February.

"It’s not my call," he said.

A WADA taskforce is working with the Russian authorities to help the country become compliant with its code.

"We are conscientiously and regularly working to get RUSADAcompliant," Reedie said. "I just want RUSADA to be compliant at the earliest possible date but they are not quite at that stage yet."

"He [Bach] has to work on everything else."

Sports minister Pavel Kolobkov told WADA’s annual symposium in Lausanne earlier this month that he hoped Russia can be fully reinstated into the WADA family in November.

WADA’s foundation board meets that month. But Reedie told ATR that the timing was purely coincidental. Russia could be granted compliance before or after the meeting: "We can do Russia by correspondence if we have to."

The question of Russia’s participation at the PyeongChang Games hinges on the work of the IOC’s two commissions investigating the institutionalised doping conspiracy.

As Around the Rings has reported, the IOC appears to be a long way off slapping any sanctions against Russia.

The two inquiries probing evidence of state-sponsored doping in WADA investigator Richard McLaren’s two dossiers –led by Denis Oswald and Samuel Schmid – will only deliver interim reports to the IOC executive board in the summer.

The huge volume of work the commissions are wading through and the disciplinary hearings needed for Russian athletes implicated is delaying the IOC’s ability to rule on Russia.

"We'll try to proceed as quickly as we can... but safely, and hopefully we will come to some conclusions long enough before PyeongChang in order to avoid the situation we had in Rio, having a report just a few weeks before," Oswald told ATR at the WADA symposium two weeks ago.

An IOC ruling on Russia is not now expected until the end of the year. Possible sanctions include a blanket ban on the country from the PyeongChang Games, disqualification of athletes and the exclusion of implicated officials, entourage or government executives.

Reported by Mark Bisson

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