Russia has sacked the outspoken director of its national anti-doping agency, Rusada, after the country’s Olympic committee accused him of chairing serious financial violations.
Yuri Ganus, who denied the allegations, said he was being fired because of his zero-tolerance approach to doping.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has expressed concern over his dismissal.
Mr Ganus was appointed three years ago on a mission to clean up Russian sport after multiple doping scandals.
He took a tough approach, increasing spot checks of athletes and declining a five-minute warning request when inspectors were on their way.
Last December, Wada banned Russia from participating in major global sporting events for four years, including the Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Mr Gunus’ sacking comes as Rusada awaits the outcome of his appeal against the ban. According to BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford, proving that the Russian anti-doping agency is fully independent would be a key condition for canceling it.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee, told reporters that the decision to fire Mr. Ganus was unanimous.
“We are certain that Rusada’s operations will remain independent,” he said.
Mikhail Bukhanov, a lawyer in Rusada, will assume the duties of interim chief until a new director is appointed, Pozdnyakov added.
The appointment of Yury Ganus was seen as a new start: a sign to the rest of the world that Russia was cleaning up its act in sport after multiple doping scandals.
His reforms and principles angered some here, and last December he told the BBC he had received death threats. Then, this year, an audit revealed apparent “irregularities” in Rusada’s finances. Now the CEO has been removed from his post after a unanimous vote.
Mr Ganus called the report “deliberately fabricated” and believes it is targeted for being so outspoken about the lingering cheating issues in Russian sport. In a recent spooky tweet, Mr Ganus wrote that he loved life and was in no way suicidal: he explained that was because in 2016 his two predecessors passed away quickly.
Wada said he contacted Russian authorities to seek clarification on Mr. Ganus’ departure.
“It is an essential part of the World Anti-Doping Code that national anti-doping organizations, such as Rusada, remain free from interference in their decisions and operational activities in order to carry out their work independently and effectively,” said l agency in a press release. declaration.
WADA’s Compliance Review Committee last year declared Rusada non-compliant due to inconsistencies in a key database of athlete test results.
Mr. Ganus later confirmed that someone had edited or deleted “thousands” of entries.