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World Anti-Doping Agency imposes 4-year ban on Russia

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The Russian flag and national anthem were banned from next year’s Tokyo Olympics and other major sports events for four years today.

Russia’s hosting of world championships in Olympic sports also face being stripped after the World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee approved a full slate of recommended sanctions as punishment for state authorities tampering with a Moscow laboratory database.

Russian athletes will be allowed to 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.

Still, it is unclear how the ruling will affect Russian teams taking part in world championships such as soccer’s World Cup.

Russia’s anti-doping agency can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days.

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

Evidence shows that Russian authorities tampered with a Moscow laboratory database to hide hundreds of potential doping cases and falsely shift the blame onto whistleblowers, WADA investigators and the International Olympic Committee said last month.