Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has insisted there was no state involvement in a doping programme surrounding the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics after the International Olympic Committee earlier this week banned Russia from participating at the upcoming 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.
Mutko (pictured), who was Sports Minister during the Sochi 2014 winter Olympic Games, was also banned by the IOC from participating in future editions of the Olympics.
“Russia has never encouraged doping,” Mutko said, according to the R-Sport news agency. “There could not have been a (state-run) doping programme. An athlete is monitored 365 days a year. (Doping control officers) can show up any time and take a sample.”
Mutko, who is spearheading the country’s preparations to host football’s 2018 Fifa World Cup, added that he was ready to resign if it was deemed necessary, but described the IOC’s actions as “discriminatory”.
Meanwhile Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at a Cabinet session yesterday (Thursday), said that the state “cannot and will not acknowledge false conclusions”.
Medvedev suggested that the IOC’s actions were politically motivated, with Russia’s presidential election scheduled for March 18.