In a surprising statement Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to organize the "Friendship Games" next autumn. In May, Putin expressed his desire to host these games, which are scheduled for next year's fall.
According to Finnihs newspaper iltalehti, Olivier Niggli, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has expressed concerns about the organization of the Friendship Games. WADA will take a stance on the games from an anti-doping perspective. Russia's doping history is a matter of concern.
Niggli stated that there is no information about the anti-doping program in place for these games, or even if there is one, and who is responsible for it.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) still does not comply with WADA's regulations. Niggli questioned how athletes can trust that they are competing in a safe and fair environment.
The Friendship Games are set to take place after the Paris Olympics and will include participation from Russia, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa. Russia's credibility in anti-doping activities has been under scrutiny or non-existent in recent years.
The country was caught in a state-sponsored doping program after the Sochi Winter Olympics. The latest blow came during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics when Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for doping.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the Russian Olympic Committee in October. The IOC found Russia's actions illegal when the country announced in early October that it had incorporated the regional sports organizations of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia into itself. Russia's actions violated the fundamental charter of the Olympic movement.
According to the IOC, the Russian Olympic Committee no longer has the right to act as a national Olympic committee and will not receive funding from the Olympic movement.