Moscow (AFP) - The outspoken head of Russia's anti-doping agency on Wednesday slammed a recommendation for his dismissal over accusations of financial wrongdoing.
Yury Ganus, the director-general of the RUSADA anti-doping agency, has sharply criticised the actions of Russia's sports leadership and described a ban on its athletes competing worldwide as justified by Moscow's failure to acknowledge wrongdoing and implement real reforms.
On Wednesday, the supervisory board of RUSADA recommended that the country's Olympic and Paralympic Committees consider dismissing Ganus, Russian news agencies reported, citing board members.
This came after Russia's Olympic Committee last month published an audit of RUSADA that exposed alleged violations.
"I don't understand this decision," Ganus told AFP, claiming his opponents want him out because of his principled stand.
"Yes it is (revenge), a struggle... They don't like what we're saying, even though we're fighting for clean sport," he said.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in December banned Russia for four years from major global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Russian authorities were accused of tampering with drug test data they handed to WADA.
This was the latest chapter of a saga that began in 2015 when an independent WADA commission investigating allegations of Russian doping during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi said it had found evidence of a vast state-sponsored system stretching back years.
WADA said in a statement on Wednesday it was "extremely concerned" to learn of Ganus's looming dismissal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the ban on competing politically motivated and the country is currently appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), though Ganus has said it has no chance of winning.
Ganus warned that his dismissal would lead to stronger international measures against Russia.
"If they remove (me)... the sanctions will be even harsher," he said.
His appointment as head of RUSADA in 2017 was supposed to help Russia clean up its image.
The anti-doping agency supervisory board includes pole-vault star Yelena Isinbayeva, a strong supporter of Putin.
Another board member, Sergei Khrychikov, told TASS state news agency that he was the only one to vote against the recommendation to fire Ganus.
The Olympic Committee and the Paralympic Committee are RUSADA's founders.
The Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said they would agree a meeting time shortly to discuss the recommendation.
In a statement he backed the recommendation to fire Ganus.
"To our deep regret, our fears were realised," he said, adding that the audit of RUSADA uncovered "violations that are very serious."
Ganus said he had submitted an appeal over the "incomplete" and "unsubstantiated" audit report on RUSADA.