Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events, for doping cover-up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), on 9 December.

WADA executive committee unanimously voted to exclude Russia and also prevent it from hosting or bidding to host any global tournaments.

However, while the country will be banned from Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Winter Games in 2022, Russian athletes who can prove themselves to be clean, can still compete at international events under a “neutral flag”.

WADA’s compliance review committee (CRC) suggested sanctions because of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) manipulation of laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

RUSADA has 21 days to accept the decision or appeal the verdict and send the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The country’s Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said that the authorities will file an appeal.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev acknowledged the issue saying that “It is obvious that significant doping problems still exist in Russia, I mean our sporting community”, however the PM also slammed WADA’s decision.

The fact that such decisions are taken repeatedly – and often in relation to the athletes who have already been punished one way or another – suggests that this is the continuation of the anti-Russian hysteria, which has already got into a chronic form”, Medvedev added.