Russia has dismissed the outspoken head of its national anti-doping agency, Rusada, after the country’s Olympic committee accused him of presiding over serious financial violations.
Yuri Ganus, who denied the allegations, said he was being removed because of his zero-tolerance approach to doping.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has voiced concern at his dismissal.
Mr Ganus was appointed three years ago on a mission to clean up Russian sport after multiple doping scandals.
He took a tough approach, increasing spot-checks on athletes and refusing a request for a five-minute warning when inspectors were on their way.
BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford says his reforms and principles angered some, and last December he told the BBC he’d received death threats. His dismissal could jeopardise Russian efforts to end a ban on its athletes attending international events, she adds.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee, told reporters the decision to dismiss Mr Ganus had been unanimous.
“We are certain that Rusada’s operations will remain independent,” he said.
Mikhail Bukhanov, a lawyer at Rusada, will serve as acting head until a new director is appointed, Mr Pozdnyakov added.
Wada said it had contacted Russian authorities to seek clarification about Mr Ganus’s departure.
“It is a critical element of the World Anti-Doping Code that national anti-doping organisations, such as Rusada, remain safe from interference in their operational decisions and activities in order to conduct their work independently and effectively,” the agency said in a statement.
Last year, Wada’s Compliance Review Committee declared Rusada non-compliant over inconsistencies in a key database of athletes’ test results.
Mr Ganus later confirmed that someone had altered or deleted “thousands” of entries.