WADA clears 95 Russian athletes of doping charges

Updated 13 September 2017

WADA clears 95 Russian athletes of doping charges

WASHINGTON: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is set to clear 95 Russian athletes investigated over involvement in the country’s alleged mammoth doping program, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
A leaked internal WADA report published by the newspaper Tuesday said the agency found it could not gather enough evidence against 95 out of 96 Russian athletes who it has been probing.
“The available evidence was insufficient to support the assertion of an anti-doping rule violation against these 95 athletes,” WADA Director General Olivier Niggli wrote in the document. The report did not name any of the athletes under investigation.
A string of WADA reports has previously uncovered reams of evidence that the Russian authorities ran a large-scale program to help competitors cheat international doping tests.
Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared “non-compliant” with international sport’s anti-doping code in November 2015 and its track and field Olympics squad and entire Paralympics team were barred from Rio 2016.
An independent investigation for the agency by professor Richard McLaren in 2016 implicated some 1,000 athletes in the doping system.
Moscow has furiously denied that it ran a state-sponsored scheme to cheat at international sporting events and insists it is doing its best to crack down on dopers.
And Russian officials said WADA’s decision only served to shed doubt on the revelations in McLaren’s report.
“In general the information of the McLaren report appears to be incomplete and moreover in many cases unreliable,” R-Sport agency quoted Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the deputy chief of Russia’s Olympic Committee, as saying.
“For the moment none of Russia’s 1,000 athletes mentioned in the McLaren report has been found guilty or banned on the basis of his information. Meanwhile, a year has already passed (since the report was issued).”
While this latest twist may help bolster the Kremlin’s claims, Niggli suggested to the New York Times that an absence of evidence did not necessarily prove Russia’s innocence.
“The system was very well-organized,” Niggli said. “On top if it, years after the fact, the remaining evidence is often very limited.”
Niggli said that invetigations into other athletes implicated in the doping scheme are ongoing.
Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA is currently battling to get itself reinstated, but faces a list of remaining WADA criteria that it must first meet.


Liverpool make U-turn over furlough scheme after clubs slammed

Updated 06 April 2020

Liverpool make U-turn over furlough scheme after clubs slammed

  • Liverpool faced stinging criticism from fans and former players after revealing over the weekend that they wanted to use the UK government’s furlough scheme
  • The fierce backlash sparked a sudden climbdown as Liverpool CEO Peter Moore wrote an open letter to supporters announcing they would no longer pursue the furlough route

LONDON: Liverpool were forced to apologize as the Premier League club ditched their controversial plan to furlough non-playing staff during the coronavirus on Monday, while FIFA urged players and clubs to reach agreement over wage reductions.
Liverpool faced stinging criticism from fans and former players after revealing over the weekend that they wanted to use the UK government’s furlough scheme.
Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s US-based owners, wanted to put around 200 staff on enforced leave during the pandemic while the government paid 80 percent of their wages.
Fellow top-flight teams Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich have already furloughed staff, but it was table-toppers Liverpool — with pre-tax profits of £42 million ($51.7 million) for the 2018-19 season — who came in for the most criticism, in part due to their reputation as a club with a strong bond to the working-class community on Merseyside.
The fierce backlash sparked a sudden climbdown as Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore wrote an open letter to supporters announcing they would no longer pursue the furlough route.
“We have consulted with a range of key stakeholders as part of a process aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for all concerned,” Moore said.
“We have opted to find alternative means despite our eligibility to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar, and are truly sorry for that.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher tweeted: “Well done @PeterMooreLFC @LFC a big mistake initially & thankfully now it’s been put right.”
With the Premier League postponed indefinitely because of the virus, Manchester City, bankrolled by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour, said they would not be using the government’s job retention scheme, with Manchester United set to follow their example.
Liverpool’s U-turn came as England’s top-flight teams, among the richest in the world, were under increasing scrutiny, with government ministers warning bosses and players they should “think carefully” over their next moves.
The highest-paid Premier League players such as Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne command eye-watering salaries, reportedly nearing £20 million ($25 million) a year.
FIFA on Monday urged clubs and players to reach agreement on taking wage reductions in order to protect clubs who are suffering financial damage, sources at world football’s governing body said.
It also recommended that players’ contracts be extended until the end of the interrupted football seasons and that the transfer window should not open until that time.
The call from FIFA comes as Premier League clubs are locked in talks with players and their representatives about taking pay cuts.
The English top flight is lagging behind other European leagues.
In Spain, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid players have agreed to pay cuts of 70 percent.
Many politicians have urged action from the Premier League and in a poll conducted by British polling company YouGov last week, 92 percent of respondents said they backed a pay cut.
But some leading players resent the political pressure. Former England captain Wayne Rooney has criticized the government and the Premier League for placing footballers in a “no-win” situation.
“In my opinion it is now a no-win situation,” Rooney said in a newspaper column. “Whatever way you look at it, we’re easy targets.”
In the latest sign of the financial crisis as a result of the coronavirus, England manager Gareth Southgate and the Football Association’s top earners have agreed to take wage cuts of up to 30 percent.