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Russia to appeal against four-year ban from major sporting events for doping offences

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Olympic and Russian flags at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Photo: February 2014

Athletes will not be allowed to compete under the Russian flag at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics or Beijing 2022 Winter Games

Russia is set to appeal against the decision to ban it from all major sporting events for four years.

Its anti-doping agency, Rusada, says it does not agree with the punishment from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The bans means Russia’s flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Rusada says a letter to Wada will be prepared on behalf of the president “in the next 10-15 days”.

“Then the ball will be in Wada’s court and the situation will be developing in the legal field,” added Alexander Ivlev, head of Rusada’s supervisory board.

Wada’s executive committee made the unanimous decision to impose the ban on Russia in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week.

It comes after Rusada was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

It had to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.

Russian president Vladimir Putin said after the ruling the country had grounds to appeal against the decision.

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Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the decision showed its “determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis”.

However, vice-president Linda Helleland says the ban was “not enough”, and it has also been criticised by other nations’ doping bodies.

Athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.

A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.

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