Russia on verge of firing outspoken anti-doping agency CEO

MOSCOW (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday it is “extremely concerned” about an effort to remove the outspoken chief executive of the Russian anti-doping agency from his post.

Yuri Ganus could soon be fired after his agency’s supervisory board recommended that the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian Paralympic Committee consider removing him over alleged financial irregularities.

ROC president Stanislav Pozdnyakov did not directly confirm he would move to oust Ganus but said in a statement that “to deep regret, our fears have been confirmed.” No date has been set for a decision.

“The World Anti-Doping Agency is extremely concerned to learn of the recommendation,” WADA said in a statement. WADA added that it had raised concerns about “potential interference” in the Russian agency’s operations and had not been satisfied by a response from supervisory board chairman Alexander Ivlev.

“Today’s recommendation has presented further very important questions as to the validity of the legal process that has been followed and the motives behind the recommendation,” WADA said.

Since his appointment in 2017, Ganus has been a frequent critic of Russian sports authorities and their record on anti-doping reforms. During his tenure, the agency known as RUSADA has assisted some high-profile investigations into Russian athletes and sports officials.

An audit commissioned this year by the ROC and RPC alleged there were unusual spending patterns and conflicts of interest at RUSADA.

Ganus and the RUSADA management responded that the audit was conducted in secret, ignored important evidence and bears the “probable signs of deliberate fabrication of false evidence.” Ganus also suggested the ROC and RPC could have used the audit to gather confidential information about how the agency investigates doping cases.

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