Athletics

Russia risks Rio 2016 ban after WADA report reveals state-sponsored doping

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Football News
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Russia faces being banned from the Rio 2016 Olympics after an investigation revealed state-sponsored doping "sabotaged" the London 2012 Olympics.

In one of sport's biggest ever scandals, an independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has revealed that 1,417 samples were deliberately destroyed on the orders of the director of Russia's drug-testing laboratory.

Senior anti-doping figures took cash to cover up positive tests, there was intimidation of officials and their families by undercover officers from the Russian secret service FSB, while athletes were given warning of when tests were to take place.

The commission's chairman Richard Pound, the former WADA president, said Russia should be banned from next year's Olympics and that there was suspicion over its performances in London 2012 where the country won 82 medals.

The commission's report blames the "widespread inaction" of the IAAF plus the Russian athletics federation (ARAF) and the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA).

The report stated: "As a result of this widespread inaction, the Olympic Games in London were, in a sense, sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing, and could have been prevented from competing, were it not for the collective and inexplicable laissez-faire policy adopted by the IAAF, ARAF and RUSADA."

Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko, also a FIFA executive committee member and head of the organising committee for the 2018 football World Cup, must have been aware of the level of cheating, which was a relic of old Cold War attitudes to drugs in sport, Pound told a news conference in Geneva.

Pound said: "For the 2016 Olympics our recommendation is that the Russian federation be suspended. One of our hopes is they will volunteer to take the remedial work - if they don't the outcome may be no Russian track and field athletes in Rio. I hope they recognise it is time to change."

His 323-page report said the Moscow drug-testing laboratory's "impartiality, judgment and integrity were compromised by the surveillance of the FSB within the laboratory during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games", and the laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov held weekly discussions with the Russian secret service.

Pound said Russian coaches were "out of control" and the report calls for lifetime bans for five Russian coaches and five middle-distance runners including Mariya Savinova and Ekaterina Poistogova, who won gold and bronze respectively in the 800m at the London 2012 Olympics.

In relation to Mutko, who denied any wrongdoing when he met investigators, Pound stated: "It was impossible for him not to be aware of it. And if he's aware of it, he's complicit in it."

The commission also made clear that other countries and other sports may have similar problems. Pound named Kenya as one, stating: "Kenya has a real problem and have been very slow to acknowledge it."

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said he will seek urgent approval from the governing body's members to consider sanctions against the Russian federation, which could include suspension. Lord Coe has given the Russian federation until the end of the week to come up with answers.

Russia's ministry of sport issued a statement saying it was "not surprised" by the majority of the report's findings, and that it had "undertaken measures to remedy the situation".

It said: "We are fully aware of the problems in the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) and we have undertaken measures to remedy the situation: there is a new president in ARAF, a new head coach, and they are currently rejuvenating the coaching staff."

It said its experts were studying the report, but in the meantime urged WADA to "rely on the real facts and evidence".

Interpol is investigating Coe's predecessor Lamine Diack on suspicion of taking more than 1million euros to cover up drugs tests. The organisation said it is co-ordinating ''a global investigation led by France into an alleged international corruption scam involving sports officials as well as athletes suspected of a doping cover-up".

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Topics:
Athletics
Commonwealth Games

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