Russia handed four-year ban from all major sporting events by World Anti-Doping Agency

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events.

The ban covers major sporting events such as next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The ban means that the Russia flag and anthem and team names will not be allowed at such events.

Athletes who can prove they have a clean record will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.

Wada's executive committee reached a unanimous decision in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The ruling comes after Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed to investigators in January 2019.

As one of the conditions for Russia’s controversial reinstatement in 2018 following a three-year suspension for widespread state-sponsored doping, RUSADA had to hand data over to WADA.

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RUSADA has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it chooses to do so, the appeal will be refereed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

WADA vice-president Linda Helleland doesn’t believe the ban was enough.

"I wanted sanctions that can not be watered down," she said, per BBC Sport.

"We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible."

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The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang saw 168 Russian athletes compete under a neutral flag.

That was after the nation was banned following the 2014 Games.

Russian athletes won a total of 33 medals at the 2014 event in Sochi, 13 of which were gold.

Despite the ban, Russia’s football team will be allowed to compete at Euro 2020, in which St Petersburg will be a host city.

That’s because European football’s governing body UEFA isn’t defined as a ‘major event organisation’ with regards to anti-doping rulings.

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