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Russian anti-doping agency faces long battle for compliance

An employee works at the reception of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
An employee works at the reception of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

(Reuters) - The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has passed 19 criteria on the Roadmap to Compliance but plenty of roadblocks remain, with 12 hurdles still to clear before reinstatement, the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Wednesday.

RUSADA was stripped of its international accreditation in 2015 after a WADA Independent Commission exposed widespread doping in Russian athletics, and has yet to regain credibility nearly two years on.

WADA said the Russian agency had made some progress, listing 19 criteria that had been met, including access to 'closed cities' for testing athletes and the removal of twice Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva from her position as head of RUSADA's supervisory council and her replacement with an independent chair and vice-chair.

WADA has also given RUSADA permission to plan and coordinate testing again using trained doping control officers (DCOs), under the supervision of WADA-appointed international experts and the British Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD).

Despite the progress, WADA said in a statement on Wednesday that RUSADA would remain non-compliant while 12 criteria were unmet.

Among them, RUSADA must select a new director general through a transparent recruitment process overseen by the two international experts.

The Russian government must also allow testers access to stored urine samples in its Moscow laboratory.

WADA is also demanding responsible authorities for Russia's anti-doping programme, including the Ministry of Sport and the National Olympic Committee, publicly accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation, which uncovered widespread state-sponsored doping at the Sochi Olympics.

Once RUSADA meets all the conditions, the agency will be put on a form of probation that would require it to fulfil some post-compliance conditions, including the continued funding of the two international experts.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom)

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