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Russia wants doping ban overturned because of coronavirus crisis

World Anti-Doping Agency (Andy Miah/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has urged international sports authorities to turn a “new page” and overturn Russia’s doping ban because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Anti-Doping Agency barred Russia from the Olympics and other major international events for four years after ruling last year that doping data from a Moscow laboratory had been manipulated. It also banned Russia from hosting or bidding for major sporting events.

Russia has appealed the ban and the Court of Arbitration for Sport is to rule on whether the moratorium is valid, but hearings have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The leaders of the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the judges who will decide the ruling should understand that now we’re living in completely different conditions and this crisis which has been created, including the crisis in relationships, should probably come to an end, turn a new page and understand that the main thing right now is to be together,” Matytsin told a news conference streamed online on April 10.

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Russia has denied that there was a systematic, state-run doping program related to its athletes, but has acknowledged shortcomings in its enforcement of anti-doping regulations.