The World Anti-Doping Agency now appears just weeks away from a ruling that could determine Russia’s eligibility to compete at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The case before WADA is tied to a long-running scandal in which Russia has already been penalized for systemic cheating among athletes, coaches and officials.
The track federation extended its ban on the embattled nation through the recent world championships and the International Olympic Committee limited Russia’s participation at the 2016 Summer Games to a relatively small number of athletes who competed under a neutral flag.
WADA is currently investigating allegations that when Russia turned over files from a Moscow testing lab as part of a reinstatement effort, the data was manipulated to hide past cheating.
After reviewing evidence, a WADA committee announced Monday that it will meet to consider its recommendation on Dec. 9. A final ruling is expected before current President Craig Reedie leaves office at year’s end.
“WADA continues to pursue this matter robustly and as quickly as practicable, while ensuring that due process is respected,” the agency said in a statement.
The ruling could also affect Russia’s eligibility to host international sporting events. Some unaltered data is being used to prosecute individual doping cases.