The title of this post sounds like a John Le Carre novel. I'm sorry to say that there is nothing that exciting here, unless of course you are a sports governance wonk.
Last week the IAAF decided that Russian track and field athletes would not be allowed to participate in Rio (unless they can squeeze through a "crack in the door"). There will be plenty more to say about that, but this post looks at a recent precedent, the decision of the International Weightlifting Federation to ban Bulgarian weightlifters from Rio. I don't think it offers much of a precedent for thinking about IAAF/Russia several reasons discussed below, but the case does raise some interesting questions about whether international federations should be more explicit about quantifying team sanctions based on individual violations.
Last October in Houston, the IWF Executive Board reported this decision (here in PDF):
Rules quoted that MF producing 9+ anti-doping violations can be suspended up to 4 years. Such MF/NOC is not allowed to enter competitors to the next ensuing Olympic Games. In case such MF participates in a competition, no Olympic qualifying points to be scored by that MF.The decision was based on changes that had been made to the IWF Anti-Doping Policy in 2012 (as reported here in PDF). The rules changes allowed the IWF Executive Board to fine and suspend national federations based on the total number of doping positives. The schedule of penalties ias as follows (from the IWF Anti-Doping Policy here in PDF):
Bulgaria had produced 9+ anti-doping violations in 1 Calendar year (Olympic
1) 3 violations 50,000 USD; In default of payment of the fine the Member Federation will be suspended for 1 year from the date of default.The suspension from Rio for Bulgaria occurred because of (c) immediately above and the fact that Bulgaria had 11 doping violations.
2) 4 violations 100,000 USD; In default of payment of the fine the Member Federation will be suspended for 1 year from the date of default.
3) 5 violations 150,000 USD; In default of payment of the fine the Member Federation will be suspended for 2 years from the date of default.
4) 6 violations 200,000 USD; In default of payment of the fine the Member Federation will be suspended for 2 years from the date of default.
5) 7 violations 250,000 USD; In default of payment of the fine the Member Federation will be suspended for 3 years from the date of default.
6) 8 violations 300,000 USD; In default of payment of the fine the Member Federation will be suspended for 3 years from the date of default.
7) 9 or more violations 500,000 USD; In default of payment of the fine the Member Federation will be suspended for 4 years from the date of default.
c) or suspend the Member Federation, from participation in any IWF activities for a period for up to four years in case of point 7 above.
The Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation took the IWF to CAS over the ban (see CAS release here in PDF). The BWF challenged the IWF on procedural grounds, and the appeal was dismissed - reading through the lines here - because the IWF has a clear statement of regulations in its anti-doping policy quantifying sanctions according to violations.
The situation with Russia and IAAF is far less straightforward, as the IAAF is operating without such clear regulations. The BWF suspension thus offers little in the way of useful precedent, other than to indicate that if Russia goes to CAS, we may have some new case law that emerges.
More generally, however, the IWF policy of associating sanctions according to the number of violations of a particular member offers a useful option for discussion related to other sports. Should the IAAF adopt a similar schedule of sanctions according to the number of violations of a particular member?
According to WADA for 2014 (the most recent year for which data has been released, here in PDF) here is the league table for Anti-Doping Rule Violations in track and field:
1. Russia (39)
2. India (29)
3. Italy (15)
4. France (14)
5. China (13)
6. Kenya, Brazil (12)
8. Sweden (11)
Where might a line be drawn for sanctions against national track and field federations? Should such a line be drawn? Might countries take anti-doping more seriously if penalties were not just levyed on individuals?