• Video report by ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned Russia from world sporting events for the next four years.

This means the country's flag and national anthem are forbidden from the Olympics and other major sports events.

Russia will also not be able to participate at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Its hosting of world championships in Olympic sports also face being stripped after the WADA executive committee approved a full slate of recommended sanctions for tampering with a Moscow laboratory database.

Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in major events only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or their data was not manipulated, according to the WADA ruling.

Russia’s team during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Credit: AP

James Fitzgerald, WADA spokesman, said: "If they [Russian athletes] want to compete in the Olympics, or in the Paralympics or the various major events that are listed within this reclamation, they're going to have to prove that they had nothing to do with non compliance."

He added athletes must demonstrate they "weren't in any way affected or had their samples or data affected by this manipulation".

Still, it is unclear how the ruling will affect Russian teams taking part in world championships such as soccer’s World Cup.

However, WADA’s inability to fully expel Russia from the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Games frustrated the doping watchdog’s vice president.

“I’m not happy with the decision we made today. But this is as far as we could go,” said Linda Helleland, a Norwegian MP who serves on WADA’s executive committee and has long pushed for a tougher line against Russia.

“This is the biggest sports scandal the world has ever seen. I would expect now a full admission from the Russians and for them to apologise on all the pain all the athletes and sports fans have experienced.”

Runner Lynsey Sharp, whose European Championships silver medal was upgraded to gold after Russian Yelena Arzhakova was banned for a doping offence in 2012, said she thinks the four-year ban is enough.

But asked if Russia could ever be trusted again in her career, she told ITV News: "I do hope so, but as I've said it's been a consistent in my whole career in the sport.

"It's been normal in the sport for so long and they've been given so many opportunities, they've been given so many bans before that I don't know if it's ever going to change completely."

She also said Russia has had the chance to "fix things" over the past three years and have not been able to.

She added: "My major concern is that the lab in Russia cannot be trusted so if the lab is being used I still have concerns over that."

Handing over a clean database to WADA was a key requirement for Russia to help bring closure to a scandal that has tainted the Olympics over the last decade.

Although the IOC has called for the strongest possible sanctions, it wants those sanctions directed at Russian state authorities rather than athletes or Olympic officials.

That position was opposed by most of WADA’s athlete commission. It wanted the kind of blanket ban Russia avoided for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games after a state-run doping programme was exposed by media and WADA investigations after Russia hosted the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

“This entire fiasco created by Russia has cheated far too many athletes of their dreams and rightful careers, for far too long,” the WADA athlete panel said in a statement ahead of the meeting.

Russia previously signalled it would appeal the ruling. That must be filed by the Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA. That body was declared non-compliant on Monday, 15 months after it was reinstated by WADA in defiance of athlete opposition.

Technicians at Russia’s national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow. Credit: AP

The decision to appeal has been stripped from RUSADA chief executive Yuri Ganus, an independent figure criticising Russian authorities’ conduct on the doping data issue. Authority was passed to the agency’s supervisory board after an intervention led by the Russian Olympic Committee.

The ROC on Saturday labelled the expected sanctions as “illogical and inappropriate”.

Russia has stuck to its claim that deceptive edits in the data were in fact made by WADA’s star witness, Grigory Rodchenkov.

The former Moscow lab director’s flight into the witness protection programme in the United States was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary.

Technical reasons were claimed – and debunked by WADA investigators – for why the data appeared to have been edited shortly before the delayed handover in January.

WADA are expected to hold a press conference on Monday afternoon to further outline the reasoning behind their decision.

Russia’s anti-doping agency can appeal the decision.

Should Russia take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the four-year ban would only begin once a final ruling to uphold the ban has been made.