December 9, 2019 / 7:04 PM / 4 months ago

Russian F1 organizers say race stays despite WADA sanctions

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia - September 27, 2019 General view during practice REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi will not be affected by the country’s four-year World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ban for tampering with doping tests, the race’s promoters said on Monday.

The sanctions include a four-year ban on Russia hosting major sporting events. [nL8N28J2DU]

Formula One’s governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) is International Olympic Committee-recognised and classified by WADA as a code signatory.

“The contract for holding the Russian round of the Formula One World Championship was signed in 2010, long before the events investigated by WADA, and runs until 2025,” promoters ROSGONKI said in a statement.

They pointed out that the race was entered on next year’s calendar and said it would be “legally and technically impossible” to re-assign it elsewhere.

“We are confident that the Formula One Russian Grand Prix will be held in 2020 and in the following years and invite everyone to Sochi — the ticket sales are in full swing,” the statement added.

The race has been held since 2014 against a backdrop of Sochi’s Winter Olympic facilities — Games now notorious for state-sponsored doping cover-ups.

Russia has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.

The WADA executive committee acted on Monday after concluding that Moscow had planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests in laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris

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