Russia to feature in Euro 2020 and keep matches - even if Wada bans country from international sport over doping scandal

Ben Rumsby
The Telegraph
Russia will also keep the 2021 Champions League final - REX
Russia will also keep the 2021 Champions League final - REX

Russia will not be thrown out of next year’s European Championship or stripped of matches at the tournament if it is banned from hosting major events over its on-going doping scandal, the Daily Telegraph can reveal.

It will also not lose the right to stage the 2021 Champions League final should the World Anti-Doping Agency ratify the recommendation of its Compliance Review Committee for the country to be exiled from international sport for four years.

The Telegraph can reveal that any ban will, controversially, only cover world championships when it comes to single-sport events, as a result of an omission in the Wada code.

That means Uefa will be under no obligation to exclude Russia from Euro 2020 or strip St Petersburg of its three group-stage matches and quarter-final – or the 2021 Champions League final it was awarded in September.

The country could still be thrown out of the next two Olympics and Paralympics and the 2022 World Cup but the CRC’s recommendation also opened the door for it to compete at those events on a neutral basis.

<span>Russian athletes could compete on a neutral basis at the next Olympics</span> <span>Credit: EPA </span>
Russian athletes could compete on a neutral basis at the next Olympics Credit: EPA

When Russia was banned from last year’s Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee allowed the majority of Russian athletes to take part under the umbrella ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’.

All this casts major doubt on the credibility of the proposed sanctions on the country for manipulating the data it handed to Wada from its Moscow laboratory in January, its latest transgression in the doping scandal to engulf it.

The agency announced on Monday that its CRC had proposed a four-year ban on hosting major events in Russia and a ban for the same period on flying the country’s flag at major competitions. The Wada executive committee will rule on the recommendations on Dec 9.

The recommendation followed a lengthy investigation into the Moscow lab data, the handing over of which was part of a deal to lift a suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.

Wada planned to use the data to expose past cover-ups of drug use by Russian athletes.

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