The Russian president has formally called for an investigation into ‘state-supported’ doping following WADA allegations. The move comes ahead of a possible Olympics ban for Russian track and field athletes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into allegations of systematic “state-supported” doping following a report by an independent commission from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“It is essential that we conduct our own internal investigation and provide the most open – and I want to underline – the most open professional cooperation with international anti-doping structures,” Putin said following a meeting of Russia’s top sports officials.
“I ask the minister of sport and all our colleagues who are linked in one way or another with sport to pay this issue the greatest possible attention,” Putin added.
Earlier this week, Grigory Rodchenkov, former Russian anti-doping laboratory chief, was accused of heading the doping cover-up, including purposefully destroying over 1,400 positive test samples and extorting money from athletes.
Rodchenkov resigned from his position on Tuesday.
The WADA on Tuesday also withdrew accreditation of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, effectively suspending the center’s ability to conduct blood and urine tests.
Putin’s statement comes ahead of an International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) meeting Friday when the sports governing body is expected to decide whether Russian track and field athletes will be banned from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said “the IAAF has informed us they will take the necessary measures.”
However, Russia should not be punished for the actions of individuals, who should be held accountable, President Putin said following Wednesday’s meeting.
“If someone breaks the rules on doping, the responsibility should be individual,” Putin said.
“This problem does not exist only in Russia, but if our foreign colleagues have questions, we must answer them,” the Russian president said.
ls/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)