Russia was slapped with a four-year ban from international sports events, including next year's Tokyo Olympics, over a longstanding doping scandal, although its athletes will still be able to compete if they can show they are clean competitors.

The ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency's executive committee means that Russia's flag, name and anthem will not appear at the Tokyo Games, and the country also could be stripped of hosting world championships in Olympic sports.

The sanctions are the harshest punishment yet for Russian state authorities who were accused of tampering with a Moscow laboratory database. Russia's anti-doping agency can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days — an action it has signaled it would take.

"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order ... but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial," WADA president Craig Reedie said.


Russian athletes can compete in major events only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or if their data was not manipulated, according to the WADA ruling.

For soccer's 2022 World Cup, WADA said the Russian team will play under its name in the qualifying program in Europe. If it qualifies to play in Qatar, the team name must be changed to something neutral that likely would not include the word "Russia."

At the past two track and field world championships, Russians competed as "Authorised Neutral Athlete." A softer line was taken ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, when the International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic body yet allowed athletes and teams to compete as "Olympic Athlete from Russia."

Going forward, "they cannot use the name of the country in the name of the team," WADA president-elect Witold Bańka told The Associated Press.

Legal fallout from the WADA ruling at CAS seems sure to dominate preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, which open July 24.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged sports organizations to appeal and said WADA's ruling was "a continuation of this anti-Russian hysteria which has already become chronic."

The latest round of sanctions were imposed because tampering with the Moscow data was a new violation of anti-doping rules committed as recently as January.

Handing over a clean database to WADA was a key requirement given to Russia 15 months ago to help bring closure to a scandal that has tainted the Olympics over the last decade.


WADA investigators and the IOC agreed that evidence showed Russian authorities corrupted data from the Moscow lab that was long sealed by security forces. Hundreds of potential doping cases were deleted and evidence falsely planted to shift the blame onto whistleblowers.

"Flagrant manipulation" of the data was "an insult to the sporting movement worldwide," the IOC said last month.

Athletes whose data was manipulated in the 2012-15 testing period now face disciplinary cases by their sport's governing body.

"Yes, we do know who those athletes are. They will be kept out of the (Tokyo) Games," said British lawyer Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the WADA panel whose proposed sanctions were unanimously approved Monday.

However, the doping watchdog's outgoing vice president was left frustrated by an unwillingness to fully expel Russia from the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

"I'm not happy with the decision we made today. But this is as far as we could go," said Linda Helleland, a Norwegian lawmaker who has long pushed for a tougher line against Russia. "This is the biggest sports scandal the world has ever seen. I would expect now a full admission from the Russians and for them to apologize on all the pain all the athletes and sports fans have experienced."

Although the IOC has called for the strongest possible sanctions, it wants those sanctions directed at Russian state authorities rather than athletes or Olympic officials.

That position was opposed by most of WADA's athlete commission. It wanted the kind of blanket ban Russia avoided for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games when a state-run doping program was exposed by media and WADA investigations after Russia hosted the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

The decision to appeal has been stripped from RUSADA chief executive Yuri Ganus, an independent figure criticizing Russian authorities' conduct on the doping data issue. Authority was passed to the agency's supervisory board after an intervention led by the Russian Olympic Committee.

The ROC on Saturday labeled the expected sanctions as "illogical and inappropriate."

Russia has stuck to its claim that deceptive edits in the data were in fact made by WADA's star witness, Grigory Rodchenkov. The former Moscow lab director's flight into the witness protection program in the United States was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary.

"As usual, Russia has disregarded all of its promises and obligations to clean sport," Rodchenkov said Monday in a statement from his lawyers.

Sports fans worldwide will still be watching top-tier events from Russia in the next four years despite the hosting ban.

In soccer, St. Petersburg will still host four games at the 2020 European Championship and the 2021 Champions League final, because European soccer body UEFA is not bound by the ruling. Nor is the Formula 1 racing series, which goes to Sochi's Olympic Park for a race each year.

"The contract is valid through 2025," Russian Grand Prix spokeswoman Tatyana Rivnaya told the AP in a telephone interview.

World championships in lower-profile Olympic sports — including luge in two months and wrestling in 2022 — could stay in Russia due to legal difficulties moving them.

"There will be practical issues," Taylor acknowledged, "and we can't ignore those."

However, Taylor said a block on Russia bidding for or being awarded sports events in the next four years would have a longer effect beyond the ban.

Here is a timeline of the drug use, doping investigations and cover-ups:
February 2014 — Russian President Vladimir Putin opens the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the first time Russia has hosted the Olympics since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian team surprises many onlookers by finishing at the top of the medals table, with nearly twice as many medals as it won in 2010.

December 2014 — German television channel ARD reports on allegations of corruption and systematic doping throughout Russia. Reports include accusations from former Russian Anti-Doping Agency official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife, Yulia, an 800-meter runner who had been banned for doping. The Stepanovs go into hiding, saying they fear for their safety.

November 2015 — Citing a report by former president Dick Pound, WADA declares Russia's anti-doping agency noncompliant and shuts down the national drug-testing laboratory. The governing body of track suspends the Russian track federation in a ban that remains in place today.

May 2016 — The New York Times publishes explosive testimony by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the anti-doping laboratory in Moscow. He says he switched out dirty samples for clean ones as part of a state doping program at the 2014 Winter Olympics and other major events. A follow-up investigation led by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren flags hundreds of covered-up doping cases in dozens of sports. The International Olympic Committee starts retesting old samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, eventually banning dozens of athletes from Russia and other countries.

August 2016 — Russia competes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a reduced squad after dozens of athletes fail vetting of their doping-test history by sports federations. The IOC resists calls to ban Russia entirely, but the Paralympics kick Russia out. Russia's Olympic weightlifting team is barred entirely for bringing its sport into disrepute and the track team consists of only one athlete, Darya Klishina, who gets a waiver to compete because she has been based abroad. The Russian team is fourth in the Olympic medal count.

August 2017 — Nearly two years into its track ban, Russia is allowed to send a team of 19 officially neutral athletes to the world championships in London after they are vetted by the IAAF. When Mariya Lasitskene wins gold in the women's high jump, the Russian anthem isn't played. Two Russian silver medalists later have their IAAF status revoked amid investigations into whether they broke anti-doping rules.

December 2017 — Faced with evidence of mass Russian cheating at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the IOC officially bans Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. However, it allows 168 Russians to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia." They win gold in women's figure skating and men's hockey. Two Russians fail doping tests during the games.

June-July 2018 — Russia hosts the soccer World Cup. Before the tournament, FIFA looks into alleged doping in Russian soccer but doesn't issue any sanctions.

September 2018 — WADA reinstates the Russian anti-doping agency against opposition from many Western athletes, who feel Russia hasn't publicly accepted it cheated. WADA's condition is for Russia to turn over stored data and samples from the Moscow laboratory that could implicate more athletes. Russia misses the initial December deadline but finally hands over the files in January 2019.

October 2018 — U.S. prosecutors allege Russian military intelligence officers hacked sports organizations, including at the 2018 Olympics, as it tried to paint athletes from other countries as cheats.

June 2019 — Former IAAF president Lamine Diack is ordered to stand trial in France over accusations of corruption, including an alleged scheme to cover up failed doping tests in return for payments from athletes. Evidence has emerged suggesting that as much as $3.5 million may have been squeezed out of Russian athletes to hush up their doping.

September 2019 — WADA says it has found signs that the lab data handed over by Russia eight months earlier may have been tampered with. Its investigation finds signs of last-minute editing days before the handover, with positive tests covered up and an attempt to plant fake messages blaming Rodchenkov.

November 2019 — The president of the Russian track federation is charged with filing false medical documents in an anti-doping case. After four years on suspension, his federation now risks full expulsion from World Athletics.

December 2019 — Using the neutral status from the 2018 Winter Olympics as a template, WADA bans Russian teams from major events for four years, though that doesn't cover part-hosting soccer's 2020 European Championship. Russia can appeal the ruling.