Banned from international sport: What has Russia done now? What does it mean? And what happens next?

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By Press Association

Russia has been handed a four-year ban from major international sporting events after being found guilty of manipulating laboratory doping data.

The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday confirmed the punishment, which means Russia will be banned from the likes of the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup.

Here, we look in more detail at the reasons behind the sanction, what it means, and what might happen next.

So what has Russia done now?

In short, Russia has tried to deceive WADA over a key condition of its reinstatement by the organisation in September last year.

How exactly?

Russia was told to provide an authentic and complete copy of the data from its Moscow laboratory to WADA’s intelligence and investigations team. Instead, WADA investigators found the data handed to them in January 2019 had been intentionally altered – it was inconsistent with a copy supplied by a whistleblower in 2017. Some data was removed and some altered, while system messages were fabricated in a bid to hamper investigators.

Measures were also taken to conceal the manipulation by back-dating computer systems and data files to make it appear as if the data had been in its current state since 2015, when Russia was first declared non-compliant. WADA’s independent compliance review committee recommended Russia be banned for four years and the body’s executive committee unanimously backed that decision on Monday.

What does this ban actually mean?

Russia will not be allowed to compete in any major global competitions, including the likes of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar, along with other World Championships. They are also banned from hosting or bidding to host such events.

And what about Euro 2020?

Russia’s participation next summer, and the staging of games in St Petersburg, is not affected by the ban, because the European Championship is not a global competition.

So there will be no Russian athletes at the Olympics?

Not quite. Any who can prove they are not implicated in doping in any way will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.

Is this the end of the matter?

No chance. Russia has 21 days to appeal against the punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If it decides not to do so, the ban will become final and start. If it opts to fight it, then the CAS decision will be final.

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