Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
This means the Russian flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and FIFA’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
However, Russian athletes who can prove they are clean from doping will be able to compete under a neutral flag.
Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev said the ban was part of “chronic anti-Russian hysteria”. He said:
“It is obvious that significant doping problems still exist in Russia, I mean our sporting community. This is impossible to deny.
“But on the other hand, the fact that all these decisions are repeated, often affecting athletes who have already been punished in one way or another, not to mention some other points – of course this makes one think that this is part of anti-Russian hysteria which has become chronic.”
WADA’s executive committee made the unanimous decision to impose the ban on Russia in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.
This ruling comes after Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (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.
WADA says Rusada has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).