Stage Two – 2017 Russian rowing participation
The World Rowing Federation, FISA confirms that it has received the complete documentation requested from the Russian Rowing Federation (RRF) within the stipulated deadline, listing all Russian rowers who could be selected to compete in international rowing events in 2017.
The RRF has submitted the names of 407 rowers: 139 senior rowers, 107 under-23 rowers, 151 junior rowers and ten para-rowers along with their complete anti-doping testing histories starting from 1 January 2013.
This request comes after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2016 Independent Person “McLaren” reports that exposed an “institutionalised doping conspiracy and cover-up” in Russia during the period 2011 to 2015. For the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, FISA followed the directives from the International Olympic Committee in order to establish the eligibility of Russian rowers for the Olympic Games. The International Paralympic Committee suspended the membership of the Russian Paralympic Committee thus disallowing Russian para rowers from participating at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Russian para rowers are eligible to compete at international rowing events under FISA rules.
As has already been stated, under FISA Anti-Doping Rules, Bye-Law 5.2, FISA is entitled to require any rower over whom it has testing authority to provide a sample at any time and at any place. FISA is empowered to select rowers or teams for target testing. As well, under Article 52.3 of the FISA Statutes, the FISA Executive Committee has the authority and responsibility to take action to protect the integrity of the sport.
FISA’s priority is to ensure that all Russian rowers wishing to compete in international rowing events in 2017 have been subjected to a credible and internationally equivalent anti-doping testing regime. This is required for the credibility of our sport and for the protection of clean rowers against whom they might compete in the coming year. As stated previously, the credibility of the Moscow laboratory from 2011 to 2015 is strongly challenged given the information published by WADA in the two McLaren reports.
FISA is now collaborating with the British Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) which is managing the unannounced, out-of-competition anti-doping testing programme in Russia using independent testing agencies for sample collection and WADA-certified laboratories for analysis. WADA has established the budget which is financed by RUSADA for UKAD’s testing across all sports. However, FISA believes that this is not enough to overcome the doubts raised by the McLaren reports and has determined that additional testing is needed to raise credibility. As FISA is obliged to maintain the usual levels of its planned global out-of-competition testing programme on other rowers who will potentially compete in World Rowing events this season, the extra costs of this unplanned and unexpected additional testing on Russian rowers must not be allowed to cause a reduction in FISA’s planned out-of-competition testing programme.
Accordingly, the FISA Executive Committee has requested a one-time payment from the RRF of Euros 50,000 as a contribution to be used solely on additional anti-doping testing on Russian rowers. While this contribution is unlikely to cover the full costs of the additional testing, it will contribute towards this cost and thereby ensure FISA’s usual programme of testing athletes from other countries remains adequately funded.
FISA has carefully reviewed the submitted testing results of the listed rowers and has cross checked these with WADA and UKAD. FISA will now move forward with the enhanced testing programme. FISA confirms that only these 407 Russian rowers will be eligible to compete in the 2017 international season. This eligibility will be subject to any subsequent information or testing results which arise and which would justify a further review of individual or multiple cases under the FISA Anti-Doping Rules or Statutes.