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Russian doping scandal: Wada launches action on suspected manipulated laboratory data

Rusada’s suspension was imposed in November 2015Russian officials handed over data which contained “inconsistencies” to World Anti-Doping Agency chiefs, the body set up to combat drug cheating in sport has said.Wada has now opened compliance proceedings against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada).It suspects data may have been manipulated before being passed on.Russia was asked to…

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Russian doping scandal: Wada launches action on suspected manipulated laboratory data

Rusada’s suspension was imposed in November 2015Russian officials handed over data which contained “inconsistencies” to World Anti-Doping Agency chiefs, the body set up to combat drug cheating in sport has said.Wada has now opened compliance proceedings against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada).It suspects data may have been manipulated before being passed on.Russia was asked to hand over data from its Moscow laboratory to show it complied with global anti-doping rules.It was a key step taken towards Russia’s reintegration back into the sporting fold following its suspension over a state-sponsored doping programme.Wada said on Monday its executive committee “was informed that further investigation of inconsistencies in Moscow laboratory data had led Wada to open a formal compliance procedure against Rusada”.The body says it is “pursuing the matter robustly” and Russia has been given three weeks to explain the inconsistencies.In comments reported by the Russian news agency Tass, the country’s sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said: “What exactly are these discrepancies and what are they related to?”Experts in digital technology from both sides are already in collaboration. For our part, we continue to provide all possible assistance.”Russia had missed deadlines to hand over the data before finally granting Wada access to the Moscow anti-doping laboratory in January.BBC sports editor Dan Roan said the discovery of “inconsistencies” in the data and the suggestion it had been tampered with could lead to renewed pressure on the International Olympic Committee to ban Russia from next year’s Tokyo Games.It will also ensure a suspension of Russia by athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, continues, he added. The World Athletics Championships start in Doha on Friday.BBC Sport understands that senior Wada officials were briefed last month that the organisation’s experts had found evidence some data may have been manipulated before being passed over to an inspection team.BackgroundA Wada-commissioned report in 2016 found Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the vast majority of Olympic sports. Russia was told it had to meet two criteria before Rusada could be reinstated after a three-year suspension: accept the findings of the McLaren report into state-sponsored doping, and grant access to Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.However, Wada’s stance softened, and after offering a compromise over the ‘roadmap’, its compliance review committee (CRC) controversially recommended reinstatement in September 2018 before the second condition had been met, prompting fury from many athletes and anti-doping organisations.In December, Russia missed a deadline to grant access to its lab, but the following month an inspection team was finally allowed to retrieve the data.Although it was accused by many of being too soft on Russia, Wada’s leadership hailed the breakthrough, insisting it would enable it to identify potential cheats, and allow international federations to pursue cases against them.CRC chairman Jonathan Taylor – a British lawyer – also warned that if the data was found not to be authentic, he would “propose serious consequences”.AnalysisBBC sports editor Dan RoanThis latest dramatic twist in this five-year-long saga is being viewed very differently.Wada insiders believe it shows precisely why it was right to offer to compromise with Russia last year and reinstate its anti-doping agency Rusada.Yes they argue, some of the lab data they retrieved appears to have been doctored, but a raft of disciplinary cases can still be pursued with data that shows no sign of manipulation. Furthermore, they insist new sanctioning powers Wada has secured means that if Russia fails to explain these “inconsistencies” in the next three weeks, it can be hit with non-compliance and an actual Olympic ban.If Russia challenged such a punishment, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) would need to rule.The critics, however, say it shows again that Russia cannot be trusted and why Wada should have waited to authenticate the data before reinstating Rusada. They are worried that if any data is found to have been meddled with, all disciplinary cases will fail and Russia will ultimately be able to challenge any ban at Cas.What is certain is that just days before the start of athletics’ World Championships, and less than a year until Tokyo, this has reignited the biggest doping scandal in sports history.

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Saturday’s gossip column

Manchester United have agreed terms with Porto full-back Alex Telles and the 27-year-old Brazil international could now sign a five-year deal. (RMC Sport – via Mirror)external-linkSections of the Real Madrid dressing room are said to be relieved that Wales forward Gareth Bale has made a loan move to Tottenham. (AS – in Spanish)external-linkRennes want Chelsea…

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Saturday’s gossip column

Manchester United have agreed terms with Porto full-back Alex Telles and the 27-year-old Brazil international could now sign a five-year deal. (RMC Sport – via Mirror)external-linkSections of the Real Madrid dressing room are said to be relieved that Wales forward Gareth Bale has made a loan move to Tottenham. (AS – in Spanish)external-linkRennes want Chelsea to include two players in any deal for Senegal international goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, 28. England defender Fikayo Tomori, 22, is one of those the French club want. (Football Insider)external-linkLiverpool have asked about a possible loan deal for France and Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele, 23. (Sport)external-linkSheffield United manager Chris Wilder says the club have held talks with Liverpool over a loan move for English striker Rhian Brewster, 20. (Yorkshire Live)external-linkBut Crystal Palace also want to sign Brewster from the champions on a permanent deal. (90Min)external-linkManchester City are considering a deal for Sevilla’s French centre-back Jules Kounde, 21. The move could see Argentina international Nicolas Otamendi, 32, move in the opposite direction. (Telegraph)external-linkCrystal Palace’s potential sale of 24-year-old Norway international striker Alexander Sorloth to RB Leipzig will fund a move for Brentford’s Algeria international forward Said Benrahma, 25. (Guardian)external-linkAny move away from Southampton for striker Danny Ings, 28, is “100% not discussable” according to manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. (Daily Echo)external-linkLeeds are still keen on signing Argentina international midfielder Rodrigo de Paul, 26, from Udinese. (Fabrizio Romano)external-linkAmerican defender DeAndre Yedlin, 27, looks set to leave Newcastle for Besiktas. (NBC)external-linkArsenal, Leeds and Wolves are all keen on 18-year-old Reading midfielder Michael Olise. (Football League World)external-linkAston Villa remain poised to sign 25-year-old Burkina Faso winger Bertrand Traore from Lyon. (Sky Sports)external-linkGossip: Could Odsonne Edouard join Jack Grealish at Aston Villa?Newcastle are close to signing Peru playmaker Rodrigo Vilca, 21, from Deportivo Municipal. (Mail)external-linkBurnley manager Sean Dyche has described the club’s way of working in the transfer market as “last minute” and “tricky”. (Mail)external-linkFormer Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says it’s “a dream” of his to coach Real Madrid. (Cadena Cope Radio – via ESPN)external-linkLeicester manager Brendan Rodgers says winger Demarai Gray has a decision to make over his future and that the 24-year-old will ultimately decide when he leaves the club. (Leicester Mercury)external-linkLyon could offer 26-year-old Dutch forward Memphis Depay to AC Milan in a swap deal which would see the French club sign 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta. (Di Marzio – in Italian)external-link The Guardian and most other papers lead on Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham Extinction: The Facts: Sir David Attenborough on biodiversity crisisBattlestar Galactica: Binge all episodes of sci-fi classic
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Friday’s gossip column

Liverpool have enquired about Ismaila Sarr and discussed his situation with Watford, who want £36m for the 22-year-old Senegal striker. (Mail) external-linkSarr has been identified by Manchester United as an alternative option if their move for Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho fails. (Independent)external-linkManchester United are considering moves for Inter Milan’s Croatia winger Ivan…

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Friday’s gossip column

Liverpool have enquired about Ismaila Sarr and discussed his situation with Watford, who want £36m for the 22-year-old Senegal striker. (Mail) external-linkSarr has been identified by Manchester United as an alternative option if their move for Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho fails. (Independent)external-linkManchester United are considering moves for Inter Milan’s Croatia winger Ivan Perisic, 31, Bayern Munich’s France winger Kingsley Coman, 24, and 30-year-old Brazil winger Douglas Costa from Juventus. (ESPN)external-linkManchester United are also targeting Germany midfielder Sami Khedira, 33, when his contract expires at Juventus. (Sun)external-linkA deal has been agreed for 28-year-old Rennes and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to join Chelsea, says his agent. (Stades via Star)external-linkGossip: Could Odsonne Edouard join Jack Grealish at Aston Villa?Chelsea are set to bid for West Ham’s England midfielder Declan Rice, 21, as the final act of their summer spending. (Simon Phillips via Express) external-linkA Manchester United bid for Porto’s 27-year-old Brazilian defender Alex Telles is imminent, according to his agent. (Star)external-linkBrentford have rejected a bid of about £10m from Arsenal for 25-year-old Spanish goalkeeper David Raya. (Telegraph)external-linkSouthampton have told Tottenham that striker Danny Ings, 28, is not for sale at any price. (Mail)external-linkLeicester City are closing in on the loan signing of 23-year-old Turkey striker Cengiz Under from Roma, while Burnley’s England defender James Tarkowski, 27, is still a target for Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers. (Sky Sports)external-linkWest Ham have changed the structure of their latest bid for Tarkowski but the offer has still been declined by Burnley. (Sky Sports)external-linkWest Brom are trying to sign Aston Villa’s 27-year-old Tanzania striker Mbwana Samatta before he completes a move to Fenerbahce. (Sun)external-linkEnglish former Liverpool defender and free agent Nathaniel Clyne, 29, is training with Crystal Palace and could earn a contract. (Standard)external-linkEdin Dzeko is set to join Juventus from Roma on a two-year deal. The 34-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina striker’s move will mean Luis Suarez’s hopes of a move from Barcelona to the Serie A champions will likely end. (Goal)external-linkArsenal have agreed personal terms with Lyon’s 22-year-old French midfielder Houssem Aouar. (Star)external-linkTottenham and England midfielder Dele Alli, 24, has emerged as a target for Paris St-Germain and Inter Milan. (Mail)external-linkSerbia striker Luka Jovic, 22, is keen to leave Real Madrid. (Marca)external-linkGenoa have reached an agreement with Chelsea to sign 28-year-old right-back Davide Zappacosta on loan. (DiMarzio – Twitter)external-linkJuventus have confirmed Gonzalo Higuain’s departure. The 32-year-old Argentina striker is expected to sign for MLS club Inter Miami. (Goal)external-link Gareth Bale’s move to Tottenham features on several back pages Extinction: The Facts: Sir David Attenborough on biodiversity crisisBattlestar Galactica: Binge all episodes of sci-fi classic
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Barca president set to face referendum

Lionel Messi (right) has had a public falling out with Bartomeu (left)Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is set to face a vote of no-confidence after a campaign seeking his removal gained the necessary backing.A motion to remove Bartomeu was filed the day after Messi’s transfer request.A total of 20,731 signatures have now backed the motion,…

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Barca president set to face referendum

Lionel Messi (right) has had a public falling out with Bartomeu (left)Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is set to face a vote of no-confidence after a campaign seeking his removal gained the necessary backing.A motion to remove Bartomeu was filed the day after Messi’s transfer request.A total of 20,731 signatures have now backed the motion, meaning Bartomeu should face a vote over his position.Some 16,500 signatures were needed and as long as that number is cleared when the signed documents are verified, 57-year-old Bartomeu will be the subject of a referendum within three months.The potential referendum will be undertaken by the club’s 150,000 members and if 66.5% of them vote against him his time at the club will come to a premature end.Bartomeu is due to step down in March, having served the maximum two terms as club president.But he looks set to become only the third president to face a vote of no-confidence after Josep Lluis Nunez in 1998 and Joan Laporta in 2008, though both survived the subsequent referendums.Messi has agreed to stay at the club but resentment against Bartomeu has been growing in the past year due to worsening finances and the team’s decline on the pitch, which saw them lift no major silverware last season.Meanwhile, former manager Quique Setien and three of his assistants also announced on Thursday that they are suing the club for failing to fulfil the terms of their contracts after being sacked last month.They claim they only received written notice of their contracts being terminated on 16 September, despite his sacking taking place on 17 August. Setien said he had not received any compensation and that a letter sent to him by the club on Wednesday “revealed the clear intention from the club to not comply with contracts we signed on 14 January 2020.”
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