Bengaluru, December 10: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned Russia from global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Euro 2020, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup after accusing Moscow of falsifying data from an anti-doping laboratory.
The ruling announced at a special WADA meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland means Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympics as neutrals, but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.
Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) has 21 days to appeal the suspension. Other concerned parties, including the International olympic (IOC) can also appeal if RUSADA chooses not to.
Russia, which has denied state involvement in doping, says the recommendation is overly harsh. Here is a timeline of the events leading up to the ban:
November, 2015: An independent commission set up by WADA and led by Dick Pound, the agency's first president, found a "deeply rooted culture of cheating" in Russian athletics, which it said Russian state security services colluded with. It recommended that Russia be banned from international athletics.
Days after the publication of the report, the International association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), banned Russia's athletics federation (RUSAF) while WADA declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant in what it described as "a pivotal moment for sport."
May, 2016: The New York Times reported that dozens of Russian athletes who competed at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, including at least 15 medal winners, were part of a state-run doping program.
The report was based on evidence from whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of the country's anti-doping laboratory during the Games.
July, 2016: An independent commission set up to investigate the allegations in the New York Times report, led by Canadian law professor and sports lawyer Richard McLaren, revealed evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), meeting on July 24, said it would allow each sporting federation to make their own decision. Russia remained banned from athletics but competed in most other sports and won 19 gold medals.
August, 2017. Russia remained barred from athletics but 19 Russian athletes were allowed to compete at the World Championships in London as neutrals after being vetted by the IAAF.
December, 2017: The IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee and banned the country from the Pyeongchang Winter Games the following February but said it would allow Russian athletes to compete as neutrals "as long as they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background."
February, 2018: A team of 168 Russians competed as part of a neutral 'Olympic Athlete from Russia' (OAR) team but two of them failed drug tests - medal-winning curler Alexander Krushelnitsky and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) later accepted Sergeeva's appeal that the failed test "likely resulted from a contaminated product."
Russia was reinstated by the IOC after the remaining tests of the country's athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics were all returned negative.
September, 2018: WADA's executive committee voted to reinstate RUSADA before it had fulfilled the requirements laid out in a "Roadmap to Compliance", which included giving access to the data stored at Moscow's anti-doping laboratory.
January, 2019: WADA extracted doping data from the discredited Moscow laboratory, including more than 2,0000 samples, three weeks after the deadline it had set Russia.
September, 2019: WADA said historical data supplied by the country's anti-doping authority contained "inconsistencies" and that RUSADA faced another suspension. The IAAF maintained its ban on Russia which was excluded from the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha.
November, 2019: A WADA compliance committee recommended that Russia receive a four-year Olympic ban as part of a sanctions package to punish Moscow for having provided the agency with doctored and incomplete laboratory data.
Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov attributed the discrepancies in the laboratory data to technical issues.
December, 2019: The Russian flag and national anthem are banned from the Olympics and other major sports events for four years by WADA. Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in major events as neutrals only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or their data was not manipulated.
(With inputs from IAAF/Agencies)