Russia in the dock, faces ban for widespread doping

  • AP, Geneva
  • Updated: Nov 10, 2015 00:18 IST
In this Aug. 11, 2012 file photo Russia's Mariya Savinova crosses the finish line to win gold in the women's 800-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London. (AP File Photo)

In a devastatingly critical report, a World Anti-Doping Agency panel accused the Russian government on Monday of complicity in widespread doping and cover-ups by its track and field athletes and said they should all be banned from competition until the country cleans up its act.

The report from a Wada commission that has been probing media allegations of widespread doping and deception in Russia said even the country’s intelligence service, the FSB, was involved, spying on Moscow’s anti-doping lab, including during last year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The commission chaired by Dick Pound recommended that Wada immediately declare the Russian federation “non-compliant” with the global anti-doping code, and that the IAAF suspend the federation from competition.

It also said the International Olympic Committee should not accept any entries from the Russian federation until the body has been declared complaint with the code and the suspension has been lifted. Such a decision could keep Russian athletes out of next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Russia finished second behind the United States in the medal table at the 2012 Olympics, with 17 medals, eight of them gold.

The scandal revolves around accusations that money was demanded from top athletes to ‘bury’ medical tests from Russian athletes that showed drug use to ehnhance performance.

The commission also accused the Russian state of complicity. It said its months-long probe found no written evidence of government involvement but it added: “It would be naive in the extreme to conclude that activities on the scale discovered could have occurred without the explicit or tacit approval of Russian governmental authorities.”

The report said agents from the FSB even infiltrated anti-doping work at the Sochi Olympics. One witness told the inquiry that “in Sochi, we had some guys pretending to be engineers in the lab but actually they were from the federal security service.” Staff at the anti-doping lab in Moscow believed their offices were bugged by the FSB and an FSB agent, thought to be Evgeniy Blotkin or Blokhin, regularly visited.

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