'Cowardly' World Anti-Doping Agency criticised over handling of Russia doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its beleaguered President Sir Craig Reedie have been dealt another devastating blow. Credit: Associated Press

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its beleaguered President Sir Craig Reedie have been dealt another devastating blow – this time from the man who led the original investigation into Russia's state-sponsored doping.

Jack Robertson, who quit his role in 2016 after exposing Russia, has accused WADA of cowardice and betraying clean athletes.

In a strongly worded assessment of how WADA handled the Russia crisis, Mr Robertson said: "As usual, WADA took the cowardly step of appearing to pass the buck to an expert committee that never had any real independence and predictably recommended that Russia be reinstated."

His harshest criticism was reserved for the WADA President, Sir Craig, who he alleges cosied up to Russia rather than punishing it.

Despite being WADA’'s lead investigator, Mr Robertson claimed Sir Craig all but ignored his work.

"I was the lead WADA investigator into Russian state-sponsored doping, and he never requested so much as a briefing. In fact, the head of WADA never once contacted me in relation to the entire investigation."

The level of Russia's wide-scale deception was blown open for a second time thanks to an interview in the New York Times with Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory.

It was Rodchenkov who revealed the staggering operation at the Sochi winter Olympics where dirty urine samples were swapped for clean ones to avoid detection.

WADA President Craig Reedie during the Pyeongchang Olympics. Credit: AP

Mr Robertson claimed that top WADA officials feigned surprise at the time when, actually, they'd known of the allegations for almost a year.

"This latest decision to reinstate Russia is a continuation of Russian favouritism by WADA and the IOC," he said.

"I believe with certainty WADA would have crucified a lesser country given lesser circumstances.

"So, what exactly did Russia do to deserve such leniency? Russia never admitted guilt, never apologized, continually lied, withheld and destroyed evidence, threatened whistleblowers, made counter accusations, was uncooperative in testing athletes, hacked into WADA's computer databases and revealed sensitive athlete data, and continued to dope its athletes. Russian power and financial influence bypassed warranted punishment…."

Mr Robertson believes that WADA must now be led by someone with integrity and moral fibre.

He encouraged athletes to reclaim their sports ahead of WADA's important foundation board meeting in Baku

He said: "My advice to athletes, be uncompromisingly committed in your determination to bring change.

"WADA will, in time, offer weak and diluted compromises with the intent of giving the appearance of change, while maintaining the status quo.

"With Reedie, the IOC and the international sport federations have a man who openly admits to a desire to avoid confrontation, no matter the cost."

Mr Robertson concluded: "The current leaders had their opportunities to do the right thing and failed, repeatedly. Athletes, the time for change is now."