Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday reacted to the WADA statement on the McLaren Investigation Report on Russia’s alleged covert doping programme as a “return of politics in sports.”
In a statement issued by the Kremlin on Monday, Putin said: “We are seeing a dangerous return to politics interfering with sport..”, evoking the 1980 boycott of the Moscow Summer Games by much of the West over the Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan and the Russia’s boycott of Los Angeles in 1984.
The damning report questions Russia’s impressive gold medal wins during the 2014 Winter Olympics and could lead to its banning from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
The report alleges that the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory “was a key player in the successful operation of a State-imposed and rigorously controlled program, which was overall managed and dictated by the Ministry of Sports”, reports Tass.
According to WADA, the anti-doping laboratory in Sochi used a unique doping sample swapping methodology allowing Russian athletes to continue performing at home 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
“The Sochi Laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Games,” the report says.
The report claiming that the doping programme in Russia was allegedly supported by the Sports Ministry and Federal Security Service (FSB) was presented by Richard McLaren, a Canadian lawyer commissioned by WADA.
“The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s analytical results or sample swapping, with the active participation and assistance of the FSB, CSP (Sports Training Center), and both Moscow and Sochi laboratories,” the report says.
The report states that Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was well aware of doping manipulations at the 2014 Winter Olympics and personally oversaw samples swapping methodology for dirty national athletes.
WADA has nevertheless decided not to give recommendations in regard to Russian team’s participation at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“My task is to investigate and establish facts,” McLaren, the chair of the WADA Independent Commission, said. “Therefore, I have no recommendations, this is not my task.”
Russian Olympic Committee official Vitaly Smirnov believes the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not ban Russian athletes from the Olympic Games in Rio. According to him, WADA’s report on investigating accusations of doping use at Sochi Olympics raises many questions.
“I have no doubts that this won’t happen because this is an unconstructive decision and all boycotts were inexpedient. Unfortunately, sport is a big temptation to derive political benefits or get new dividends. Sport must be clean,” Smirnov said.
Russia has agreed to cooperate by suspending all those named in the report and conducting their own investigation.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that they would examine the report carefully.
The international Olympic Committee will decide on Tuesday as to how to react to the report.