Billionaire Usmanov urged WADA not to lynch “clean” Russian athletes

The President of the International Fencing Federation Alisher Usmanov urged WADA not to “lynch” the athletes who were not found guilty of doping. The billionaire sent a letter to the head of WADA on the eve of the meeting, which will decide on the admission of athletes to compete under the flag of Russia

President of the International Fencing Federation Alisher Usmanov #7 called on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) not to impose unreasonable restrictions on Russian athletes who are not found to have used doping. “Punishing the guilty should not deprive the innocent of basic human rights,” the billionaire wrote in an appeal to WADA head Craig Reedy. A copy of the letter was also sent to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, TASS news agency reported.

The letter was sent to Ridi and Bach on the eve of the meeting of the WADA executive committee, which will decide on the compliance of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) with the organization’s code on December 9.

Usmanov emphasizes that he supports the most severe punishment for all violators of doping rules, but advocates a fair solution: “The merciless fight against doping must not turn into a lynching and new sanctions for the same violation. He considers “obvious discrimination” the possible ban on performing under the Russian flag. It is, in his opinion, “not a privilege, but a right of an athlete.”

According to Usmanov, the goal of the World Anti-Doping Code is to protect the fundamental right of athletes to compete free of doping. “I propose to proceed from this goal and ensure the right of clean Russian athletes to participate in international competitions without discrimination and unreasonable restrictions,” the billionaire stresses.

In late November, the WADA Compliance Committee recommended to the executive committee that RUSADA be declared non-compliant with the organization’s code. It also recommended imposing sanctions on Russian sport, including depriving athletes of the ability to compete at international competitions under the country’s flag for four years and banning international tournaments in Russia.