RUSADA's failure to meet WADA deadline to hand over data from anti-doping lab down to logistics, says Kremlin

Agence France-Presse
The judgment casts doubt on how North Korea's athletes are tested for doping as the International Olympic Committee explores options to field combined Korean teams at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Moscow: The Kremlin on Wednesday said Moscow's failure to meet the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) deadline last week to hand over data from its anti-doping laboratory could be explained by logistical problems.

The remarks by President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov came as a WADA team was scheduled to visit Russia to obtain test data from the drug-tainted Moscow lab.

WADA will consider next steps at a 14-15 January meeting of its compliance committee.

Peskov told journalists that the data had been ready to be passed to the experts when they last came to Moscow in December but they left empty-handed after Russia raised issues with the certification of WADA equipment under Russian law.

"There were certain working disagreements tied to the nature of the how and on what (data) carriers this is handed over. In essence, these were issues of logistics rather than substance," Peskov said.

"As far as we know... there is an understanding now with WADA representatives regarding how the work will be carried out in the future," he added, without elaborating.

WADA confirmed that the inspectors would start their work on Thursday.

"The team has arrived in Moscow and they are counting on starting their work tomorrow (Thursday)," said a spokesman.

WADA said in a statement on 7 January that the issue of equipment during the last visit "has since been resolved by the Russian authorities".

In September, WADA conditionally lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), after it was suspended for a state-sponsored doping operation.

This paved the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports. But one of the conditions was data access by the end of 2018.

WADA's leadership has been strongly criticised over its decision to lift Russia's suspension before obtaining access to the Moscow lab information.

The IAAF, world governing body for athletics, said it would maintain Russia's ban. Russian athletics teams were barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 World Championships in London.

Also See: WADA Athletes Committee calls for fresh sanctions on Russia after it misses deadline to provide data from Moscow laboratory

Russian Anti-Doping Agency chief Yury Ganus asks President Vladimir Putin to give WADA access to Moscow laboratory

Former WADA president Dick Pound blasts critics of anti-doping agency for acting like a 'lynch mob'

Read more on Sports by Firstpost.