Russia’s Mutko insists ‘no state-backed programme’ related to doping

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said there had never been any legal links between the country's authorities and the work of RUSADA, adding that only WADA was responsible for its activities
AFP

Moscow (AFP) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko on Monday said Moscow partly accepts the findings of an explosive 2016 report on doping by Richard McLaren, but insisted the country had no state-sponsored doping programme.

“We say once again that we have agreed with Professor McLaren’s conclusions concerning the activities of RUSADA (Russian anti-doping agency) and the work of Moscow’s (anti-doping) laboratory,” R-Sport agency quoted Mutko as saying.

“However we give our assessment that this is not a state-sponsored programme.”

On Sunday the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) warned Russia it must “publicly accept” the McLaren report on state-sponsored doping in the country as officials prepared to visit Moscow to audit anti-doping progress this week.

Mutko said there had never been any legal links between the country’s authorities and the work of RUSADA, adding that only WADA was responsible for its activities.

“RUSADA and the Moscow laboratory were independent and worked according to WADA’s standards,” he said. “Only WADA has means of control.”

“And there is no legal link between the country’s authorities and the work of the anti-doping organisation.”

The McLaren report, released in 2016, alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia from 2011 to 2015.

The investigation said the cheating peaked at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi where Russian secret agents engineered an elaborate system of state-backed doping.

Russia’s own anti-doping body RUSADA was declared “non-compliant” while the country’s track and field team was banned from the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. 

WADA’s executive committee also said they were emphasising three points:

+ That the responsible authorities for anti-doping in Russia must publicly accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation. 

+ That the Russian Government must provide access for appropriate entities to the stored urine samples in the Moscow Laboratory. These samples are sealed off due to a Federal investigation. 

+ That WADA audits RUSADA, which will be carried out the week of 25 September 2017.

However, Mutko has earlier stated that Russia will never accept the allegations that it organised a state-backed doping system in the country.

.