Russia moves closer to sacking anti-doping chief over alleged financial violations

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The board of Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA) called on the country’s sports authorities on Wednesday to consider firing its director over allegations he presided over serious financial irregularities.

FILE PHOTO: Head of Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Yuri Ganus speaks during a news conference in Moscow, Russia December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

Yuri Ganus, who was named director of RUSADA in August 2017, denied the allegations made by Russia’s Olympic Committee last month and has portrayed them as a political attack on his agency and its efforts to clear up Russia’s sporting image.

Ganus was appointed to head RUSADA as it was mounting a push to be reinstated after being suspended over a doping scandal.

The appointment of a new director had been a condition for the agency’s reinstatement.

RUSADA’s supervisory board met to discuss the allegations against Ganus on Wednesday.

Alexander Ivlev, the board’s chairman, said it considered the allegations to be true and recommended that the agency’s founders, Russia’s Olympic and Paralympic committees, consider firing Ganus, the Interfax news agency reported.

The Olympic Committee said it would soon set a date to meet the Paralympic Committee to decide on Ganus’ fate.

“The supervisory board’s decision today about distrust in RUSADA director general Yuri Ganus and the inexpediency of him remaining in this post, which was adopted almost unanimously, looks unambiguous,” Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of the Olympic Committee, said in a statement.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it was extremely concerned by the supervisory board’s recommendation and that it would seek clarification from the Russian authorities.

RUSADA was suspended in 2015 after a report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping among Russian track and field athletes.

RUSADA was conditionally reinstated in September 2018, but was declared non-compliant late last year after WADA found Moscow had provided it with doctored laboratory data.

The agency has appealed against a four-year ban on Russian athletes competing at major international sporting events under their flag as punishment for that data alteration.

The case will be heard by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in November.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Tom Balmforth and Toby Davis