The World Anti-Doping Agency declared Russia's scandal-ridden drug-fighting operation back in business Thursday, a decision designed to bring a close to one of sports' most notorious doping scandals but one bitterly disputed by hundreds of athletes and described as "treachery" by the lawyer for the man who exposed the corruption. On a 9-2 vote, the executive committee took the advice of the agency's compliance review panel and declared RUSADA as having satisfied conditions of reinstatement that were gradually softened over the summer. The reinstatement, after nearly a three-year suspension, now clears the country to again bid for major international events—although soccer's World Cup was held there this summer despite that restriction, the AP reports.
Hundreds of athletes and dozens of world anti-doping leaders see the reinstatement as a stinging rebuke to the ideal of fair play. "WADA's decision to reinstate Russia represents the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history," said Jim Walden, the attorney for Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Moscow lab director who exposed much of the Russian scheme. Even in Russia, where the news was welcomed, it came with a sense that there's still work to be done."These questions will always follow us," said RUSADA CEO Yuri Ganus, whose appointment to the job was part of the housecleaning at the agency that WADA demanded. "These aren't the kind of skeletons which can lie unnoticed in the closet. These are the skeletons which will be banging on the closet door all the time."
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