IFSC stands by World Championships in Russia despite WADA hosting ban
The International Federation of Sport Climbing insisted today it is not in contravention of the World Anti Doping Agency code after announcing that its showpiece World Championships will go ahead as planned in Moscow this year, despite the ban on Russia from hosting world championships.
The IFSC executive board, meeting via teleconference, said it can "finally confirm" that the Russian capital will stage the World Championships between 15 and 22 September, a month after the sport is due to make its Olympic Games debut in Tokyo.
In December, the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the ban on Russia fielding teams at events such as the Olympic Games from four to two years.
The sanction had been handed down by WADA after the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was found non-compliant because of manipulated data, purported to be linked to positive tests, provided in January 2019.
The sanction means that Russia will not be permitted to send official teams to this year’s delayed Olympics or next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics, with its flag and national anthem barred, while the country is banned from hosting or bidding for events at a World Championship level and the Olympic Games.
However, the IFSC appears to have exploited a loophole in the CAS ruling, telling GlobalData Sport today that it is both "legally and practically impossible to find a different solution" despite the event being seven months away.
The IFSC insists the time frame is too short to relocate its major event, considering the logistics at play.
The CAS award states: "The Russian Federation (or any Russian Signatory or Russian national federation) may not host in the Two-Year Period, or bid for or be granted in the Two-Year Period the right to host (whether during or after the Two-Year Period), any editions of:
"• Any World Championships organised or sanctioned by any Signatory. For these purposes, a “World Championship” is any event or one or more of a series of events that determines the world champion for a particular sport or discipline in a sport, but does not include qualifying events.
"Where the right to host any such event in the Two-Year Period has already been awarded to the Russian Federation, the Signatory in question must withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country, unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so."
The IFSC said it will work closely with the Climbing Federation of Russia and other organisations involved "to fully respect the CAS decision and, at the same time, deliver an event that lives up to the standards required of the IFSC flagship competition."
In the wake of the CAS ruling, the UWW, wrestling's governing body, announced that Russia will no longer stage the 2022 World Wrestling Championships, and will instead swap with Serbia, the planned host for 2023, which falls outside the sanction period.