World Anti-Doping Agency to probe alleged systemic doping in Russian swimming

SWIMMING-EURO-SHORT-2015

The World Anti-Doping Agency is to investigate allegations of systemic doping in Russian swimming.

WADA will examine the independent report it commissioned which revealed systemic performance-enhancing drugs use in Russian athletics before deciding whether to widen the inquiry.

It will look for corroborating evidence and whether there is new material in swimming before determining the level of investigation.

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Russian athletes are currently suspended by the IAAF, athletics' world governing body, and a report in The Times on Wednesday alleged systemic doping was taking place in Russian swimming - something WADA plans to investigate.

WADA president Craig Reedie said: "There is no doubt that today's disturbing assertions of orchestrated doping in Russian swimming should be scrutinised.

"WADA and its partners are under no illusions about the challenges facing sport's integrity today. Clean athletes are justifiably concerned that their rights are being eroded through the minority that choose to dope in sport.

"As a result of information and evidence collected, WADA will make an informed decision as to what form of inquiry is needed and who will conduct it."

WADA expressed "concern" following the allegations which "arrive at a time when trust in clean sport is already in a perilous state".

Russia's track and field athletes could miss August's Olympics in Rio following the WADA independent commission report into athletics, which was published late in 2015 and early this year, and prompted their suspension by the IAAF.

WADA has written to FINA, swimming's world governing body, and expressed particular concerns about the alleged role of Sergei Portugalov, the head of Russian athletics' medical department, who is facing sanctions following the independent report into athletics.

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A WADA statement said: "We are concerned by the allegations that Mr Sergei Portugalov - who is currently facing a lifetime ban from working in athletics due to the commission's findings - may be working in swimming.

"It should be noted that, under the world anti-doping code, such a lifetime sanction should also be recognised by all other international sport federations."

FINA said it has focused anti-doping efforts on Russian competitors after the WADA independent commission report into athletics.

FINA called on The Times to share its evidence.

An International Olympic Committee spokesperson added: "At this stage, anyone with any hard evidence should give it to FINA and to WADA."

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