The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has closed its investigation in regard to 95 Russian athletes implicated in the McLaren Report due to a lack of evidence.
WADA has agreed to clear 95 of the 96 unnamed athletes whose cases have been reviewed in the investigation, the New York Times reported Tuesday citing an internal recent report circulated among the organization’s executives.
“The available evidence was insufficient to support the assertion of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) against these 95 athletes,” WADA Director-General Olivier Niggli wrote in the internal report.
However, the report stated that an ADRV would be asserted against the one remaining athlete of the 96 who has not yet been cleared.
In a further telephone interview to the New York Times, Niggli said, “We have to accept the fact that McLaren’s purpose was to prove a system, not individual violations.”
Niggli also stated that evidence obtained during WADA’s investigations, including testimony from disgraced former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, was insufficient to prosecute the athletes.
Rodchenkov was himself under investigation in Russia in 2011 over illegal steroid sales, and is currently living in hiding in the United States.
Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren has spent the last two years heading a WADA-backed investigation into allegations of Russian state-sponsored doping, compiling evidence to build cases against a number of Russian athletes.
According to his report, over 1,000 Russian athletes – in summer, winter and Paralympic competitions – benefited from the alleged state-backed plot to conceal positive doping tests.
McLaren had described the pieces of evidence against any individual athlete as like “like strands in a cable,” in his report last December.
On September 5, McLaren denied claims he had ‘dropped charges’ of state involvement in the cases of alleged doping in Russia.
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