Russia has been banned from all major international sporting events for the next four years—a prohibition that will see Russia’s athletic teams excluded from next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar, and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s board met in Switzerland on Monday and agreed unanimously to the ban. It’s the most severe punishment dished out yet to Russia following years of the country carrying out a highly sophisticated and widespread state-powered doping program.
However, Russian athletes who can prove beyond doubt they were not involved in doping scandal will still be able to compete at major events under a neutral flag. A total of 168 Russian athletes were able to compete that way at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The ban came after Russia’s Anti Doping Agency was declared noncompliant for allegedly manipulating laboratory data that was handed over to investigators at the start of this year.
Russia has 21 days to appeal the ban. It will almost certainly do so as, despite extensive evidence to the contrary, the country continues to deny many of the allegations against it.