30 April 2019
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WADA successfully retrieves samples from Moscow Laboratory

Since January’s retrieval by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of the analytical data generated by the former Moscow Laboratory in Russia, WADA Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) has been working on a mission to extract all relevant samples still contained within the laboratory.

WADA can confirm that a five-person team has successfully retrieved 2,262 samples from the laboratory, which had been split into A and B samples and contained within 4,524 collection bottles. The samples have now been taken out of Moscow and are on their way to a WADA-accredited laboratory outside of Russia. Importantly, all samples targeted by I&I in advance of the mission were successfully located and extracted.

WADA Director of I&I Gunter Younger, who is leading the process, said: “WADA Intelligence and Investigations is pleased to be continuing to make progress in this complex and difficult case. Extracting the required samples from the laboratory is another step forward. These samples will be used to strengthen cases against those who may have cheated and may exonerate athletes who have not committed an anti-doping rule violation.”

“In removing the bottles, as a precaution we decided to take any and all samples that corresponded to data in the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) database that was even remotely anomalous, even where an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was not suspected. We can therefore proceed to the next phase and support the various International Federations (IFs) and other Anti-Doping Organizations to bring cases forward.”

In parallel, the authentication process of the Moscow data is close to completion. In early May, a progress report from that process will be sent to the independent Compliance Review Committee – which has received updates from WADA I&I every two weeks since the data was extracted in January – and an update will be presented at the next meetings of WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board on 15 and 16 May, respectively.

Meanwhile, the process continues as I&I investigators identify all available evidence for each case, including ordering further sample analysis, where appropriate. In due course, the relevant IFs will be presented with evidentiary packages, which they will assess with the view to taking the cases forward as ADRVs. In cases where IFs choose not to take action, WADA will review the facts, discuss with the relevant IF and reserves the right to bring them forward to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Last week, WADA held a conference call with a number of IFs outlining the next steps and answering any questions they might have. Similar conference calls have also been held with athletes and with National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs).

Background: The successful data and sample retrieval came about as a result of the 20 September 2018 decision of WADA’s Executive Committee to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), under strict conditions, to the list of World Anti-Doping Code-compliant Signatories. Under the terms of that decision, the Russian authorities were required to provide the data while also agreeing that any samples required by WADA for re-analysis would be made available by 30 June 2019. The samples had been stored and sealed off as part of a federal investigation being carried out by Russian authorities.

Further information: WADA has produced a flowchart that summarizes the three phases of the RUSADA Compliance Process and has compiled a document that summarizes the ‘Progress of the Anti-Doping System in Light of the Russian Doping Crisis’.