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Whistleblower Rodchenkov dreads Lifting Russia doping ban.

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Doping

Doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov has disclosed that lifting the suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency (Rusada) would be “catastrophic”.

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) executive committee is expected to end a three-year suspension of Rusada when it meets on Thursday.



The move has been criticised by athletes, anti-doping bodies and Wada’s vice-president Linda Helleland.

Rusada has been suspended since 2015 over alleged state-backed doping.

Last week, Wada’s compliance review committee recommended Rusada’s reinstatement after it received assurances from the Russian sports ministry, saying the country had “sufficiently acknowledged” failures.

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Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, fled Russia in late 2015 with detailed evidence of the far-reaching state-sponsored doping regime he masterminded.

His evidence led to Russia being banned from the Olympics and he has been in hiding ever since, saying he fears reprisals from the Russian state.

“It is clear that any decision by Wada to reinstate Rusada – which would then be followed by the reinstatement of the Moscow Laboratory – would be a catastrophe for Olympic sport ideals, the fight against doping and the protection of clean athletes,” he said.

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The UK Anti-Doping Agency (Ukad) has joined with other leading national anti-doping organisations around the world to call for a postponement of any decision by Wada.

UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger has backed Ukad’s position, adding: “What doping steals from athletes is irreplaceable and the integrity of sport and competition has to be protected to maintain public trust and support. This responsibility rests with leaders at every level.”

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Morocco Get $2.9bn Credit Line Approval from IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $2.97 billion Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) to help Morocco face unexpected economic setbacks.



The IMF said in a statement that the new PLL arrangement “will provide insurance against external shocks and support the authorities’ efforts to further strengthen the economy’s resilience and promote higher and more inclusive growth”.

The two-year credit line signed on Monday is the fourth of its kind between Morocco and the IMF.

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In 2012 the IMF approved a $6.2 billion PLL for Morocco, then in 2014 the global finance body approved another worth $5 billion, and in 2016 another $3.5 billion was approved for Rabat.

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“Morocco’s economic growth remains strong in 2018 and is expected to accelerate in the medium term, provided that external conditions improve,” the IMF said. However, the outlook remains vulnerable to adverse external risks, including increased geopolitical risks and the volatility of global financial markets, it added.

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Lionel Messi wins record fifth Golden Shoe award

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi says he “never imagined having so much success” after being presented with a record fifth European Golden Shoe award.




The Argentine scored 34 goals in 36 La Liga appearances in 2017-18, making him the highest goalscorer in Europe ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (32).

Messi’s latest Golden Shoe award moves him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won four in total.

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“The truth is I had no idea this would happen when I started,” said Messi.

“I dreamt of playing professional football and enjoying success, I love the game, but I never imagined I would have so much.”

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Tottenham’s Harry Kane finished third in the rankings with 30 Premier League goals, while former Real Madrid forward Ronaldo – now at Juventus – ended the season with 26 goals in 27 league matches.

Messi currently leads Europe’s goalscoring charts once again, with 14 goals so far this term, as he targets a sixth Golden Shoe award.

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