HomeNewsBusinessAthleticsRussia

Wada calls for Russian Rio 2016 ban, Putin speaks out

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has recommended that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) should consider banning all Russian athletes entered for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged officials named in Monday’s McLaren Investigation Report will be suspended.

Monday’s damning independent report produced by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren revealed evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and details of a system that included widespread cheating and manipulation of tests by athletes and officials as far back as 2011.

In the wake of the report, Wada has made seven key recommendations, including one that Russian government officials be denied access to international competitions, including Rio 2016. Among the other recommendations, Wada said international federations from sports implicated in the report consider action against Russian national bodies and that McLaren and his team complete their mandate provided Wada can secure the necessary funding.

Wada has also recommended that the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) remain non-compliant under its Code and its staffing and independence be further reviewed by Wada. The accreditation process of the Wada-accredited laboratory in Moscow is also proposed to be stopped. Meanwhile, Wada has called on the Ethics Committee of football’s global governing body Fifa to look into allegations concerning football and the role played by a member of its Executive Committee, Vitaly Mutko, who also serves as Russia’s Sports Minister.

The IOC Executive Board will today (Tuesday) convene in a telephone conference to take its first decisions, which may include provisional measures and sanctions with regard to Rio 2016. The IPC also said that it will consider provisional measures and sanctions with regards to the Rio Paralympic Games.

The McLaren report confirmed claims widespread doping across Russian summer and winter sports was tied to the government ministry headed by Mutko, who holds several influential positions, including that as head of the local organising committee (LOC) for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

Mutko personally intervened to cover up a doping case of “at least one foreign (soccer player) in the Russian League,” according to email evidence obtained by the inquiry. The report alleged an additional 11 positive tests of Russian football players were made to disappear from late 2011 to 2015. Fifa said in a statement reported by the Reuters news agency: “Fifa will request from Wada all details concerning the individual cases of doping in Russian football that are referenced in the McClaren report. Once Fifa receives this information from Wada, it will take the appropriate next steps.”

Commenting on the report’s findings Wada president Craig Reedie (pictured) said: “Shamefully, the McLaren Report corroborates the allegations, exposing a modus operandi of serious manipulation of the doping control process in the satellite laboratory set up in Sochi for the 2014 Games; and, the Moscow laboratory since 2011 and after the Sochi Games.

“Not only does the evidence implicate the Russian Ministry of Sport in running a doping system that’s sole aim was to subvert the doping control process, it also states that there was active participation and assistance of the Federal Security Service and the Center of Sports Preparation of National Teams of Russia.”

He added: “The report… reveals that the Russian Ministry of Sport manipulated the doping control process of the 2014 Sochi Games; the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow; the 2013 World University Games in Kazan; and, put measures in place to circumvent anti-doping processes before the 2012 London Games. As the international agency – responsible for leading the collaborative, global, clean sport movement – Wada is calling on the sports movement to impose the strongest possible measures to protect clean sport for Rio 2016 and beyond.”

In a statement issued by the Kremlin’s press service on Monday evening, Putin promised that Russian officials named in the Wada commission’s report will be temporary suspended from work until the investigation is over. The first move in this pledge came as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suspended Deputy Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh. The McLaren report said Nagornykh had been told of every positive test across all sports from 2011 onwards and decided who would benefit from a cover-up and who would not be afforded protection.

However, Putin added: “Now we are witnessing a dangerous relapse of politics’ interference into sports. Yes, formats of such interference have changed but its essence is the same – to make sports an instrument of geopolitical pressure, of forming a negative image of countries and nations. The Olympic movement which is playing a colossal uniting role for the humankind may once again be driven to the brink of a split.

“Now, the so-called doping scandals have come into play, attempts are being made to extend the sanctions for the exposed doping abuse cases to all, including ‘clean’ athletes under the pretext of alleged protecting their interests.”