Outspoken head of Russian anti-doping agency fired

MOSCOW (AP) — The outspoken chief executive of the Russian anti-doping agency was fired Friday, a move that the World Anti-Doping Agency had said it was “extremely concerned” about.

Yuri Ganus was fired after his agency’s supervisory board recommended that the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian Paralympic Committee consider removing him because of alleged financial irregularities.

ROC president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said at a news conference that the decision was made “unanimously.” Mikhail Bukhanov, a lawyer with the Russian anti-doping agency, was appointed acting head of the body.

Since his appointment in 2017, Ganus has been a frequent critic of Russian sports authorities and their record on anti-doping reforms. During his tenure, the agency known as RUSADA has assisted some high-profile investigations into Russian athletes and sports officials.

Ganus denounced his dismissal in comments to the Interfax news agency.

“In my view, this is a wrong decision, so let them enjoy their mistakes,” Ganus said. “The wanted to make (this decision) and they made it. In terms of the overall goals and all, it’s a mistake.”

An audit commissioned this year by the ROC and RPC said there were unusual spending patterns and conflicts of interest at RUSADA.

Ganus and the RUSADA management responded that the audit was conducted in secret, ignored important evidence and bears the “probable signs of deliberate fabrication of false evidence.” Ganus also said the ROC and RPC could have used the audit to gather confidential information about how the agency investigates doping cases.

WADA warned about the possible firing Ganus three weeks ago, saying it was “extremely concerned to learn of the recommendation” that “presented further very important questions as to the validity of the legal process that has been followed and the motives behind it.”

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