Russian doping ban will not affect Scotland’s Euro 2020 chances

Wembley stadium will host final of Euro 2020 © Jbmg40

Scotland will not secure qualification for the 2020 UEFA European championships, despite Russia’s four-year ban from all major sporting events.

Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced the ban, leaving Russian athletes unable to compete under their country’s flag in the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. The ban does not, however, extend to the Euros.

BBC Sport Olympic reporter David McDaid said: “It really comes down to the fact that the European Championships are not considered to be a major international event by WADA; the World Cup and the Olympics are.”

McDaid added: “It’s a bit of a surprise because we consider it to be a major event in Europe and in Scotland.”

Scotland’s national football team, under manager Steve Clarke, failed to secure automatic qualification for the tournament, finishing one place below Russia in Group I. The Scots also lost twice to the Russians in a disappointing campaign.

McDaid added: “I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but St Petersburg is one of the host cities. We saw last year when Russia were still under a cloud they were allowed to host the World Cup. Who knows, but the official line, unfortunately for Scotland, is that the Euros don’t count.”

Reacting to the ban on Russia in general, McDaid commented: “I don’t really think it’s a surprise. WADA had already said in January this year that the Russian authorities had provided tampered data. This ban was really on the cards once WADA said that.

“We’ve already seen in 2016 that Russian athletes were not allowed to compete under the Russian flag. Russian athletes were only allowed to compete as IOC athletes if they could prove that they weren’t part of a doping regime.”

Finally, McDaid added that: “The IOC left the onus on whether or not athletes could compete or not up to the individual sport, so they passed the buck in that sense. I think some people would like to see the IOC go further and not allow any Russian athletes to compete.”

Scotland still have a chance of appearing at next year’s tournament.

They face Israel at Hampden park in a Euro 2020 play-off semi-final. If they were to win that game, they would have to face either Norway or Serbia away from home to make the finals.