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The Latest: Russian ministry 'not surprised' by WADA report
Nov. 09, 2015
GENEVA (AP) — The Latest from the IAAF investigation (all times local):
The Russian sports ministry says it is "not surprised by most of the points" in the scathing report on doping in the country and that it is working to correct the problem.
The ministry issued a statement in English late Monday in response to the WADA commission report, which highlighted systematic doping within Russian athletics.
The ministry says "we are fully aware of the problems in the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) and we have undertaken measures to remedy the situation: there is a new president in ARAF, a new head coach, and they are currently rejuvenating the coaching staff."
It says "Russia has been and will continue to be fully committed to the fight against doping in sport."
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has threatened to cut all government funding for anti-doping work after a WADA commission report slammed the country's record.
The WADA report says the Russian anti-doping agency was under improper influence from Mutko's ministry, that it had given athletes advance notice of tests and that its employees "routinely" took bribes from athletes to cover up doping.
The head of the national anti-doping laboratory is accused of overseeing the destruction of 1,417 samples shortly before a WADA team visited.
Mutko told the Interfax news agency that "if we have to close this whole system, we would be happy to close it" because "we will only save money." That would mean no funding for the Russian anti-doping agency or laboratory, he added.
Mutko also said Russia was being persecuted over doping, saying "whatever we do, everything is bad."
The IAAF is giving the Russian athletics federation until the end of the week to respond to the damning allegations of state-supported doping before facing possible suspension.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe says he asked the Russians "to report back to us by the end of the week."
He says "I want an explanation for the allegations that have been made today," referring to the WADA commission report into Russian doping.
The IAAF council will then decide whether to take sanctions against Russia. Coe says "it could lead to a provisional suspension" that would bar Russian athletes from international competition, including the Olympics.
Coe says "we will act very quickly."
The IOC, meanwhile, says it trusts that Coe "will draw all the necessary conclusions and will take all the necessary measures."
The Russian government is playing down the impact of the critical report into rampant doping in track and field.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, whose ministry stands accused of giving orders to cover up doping violations, says Russia's doping problem is no worse than in other countries.
Mutko tells Russia's Interfax agency that "we have the same percentage as other countries" and says Russia has been unfairly singled out.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment, instead referring reporters to Mutko's comments and saying "I have nothing to add to the refutations already made."
Asked about the report's allegation that Russia's FSB security service compromised anti-doping work at last year's Sochi Olympics by carrying out surveillance of the laboratory, Peskov said that issue was "not part of the Kremlin agenda" and again referred reporters to the sports ministry, which has yet to comment on that issue.
The World Anti-Doping Agency says the report by Dick Pound's commission into Russian doping "will shock and appall athletes and sports fan worldwide."
WADA says it "welcomed" the report by an independent panel that detailed widespread doping in Russian athletics.
WADA President Craig Reedie says the report exposes "many issues that highlight very current deficiencies with the anti-doping system in Russia."
Reedie says the findings are "deeply disturbing" but calls the investigation "hugely positive for the clean athlete as it contains significant recommendations" for WADA and the other anti-doping bodies to "take swift corrective action to ensure anti-doping programs of the highest order are in place across the board."
He says WADA "is fully committed in its role of leading the charge to protect the rights of clean athletes worldwide."
The head of Russia's medical agency says the World Anti-Doping Agency's report into Russian doping is part of a "politically motivated" campaign.
Vladimir Uiba, the head of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency which provides medical services to Russian national team competitors, said the strongly critical report was linked to international sanctions against Russia over the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine.
Uiba tells the Interfax agency that the report is an "absolutely politically motivated statement from the category of sanctions against Russia. It has no basis because the doping tests which are done are collected from the athletes by WADA commissioners themselves."
He also says Russian athletes suspected of doping are also likely to keep their medals, adding that canceling any results would require "a huge number of legal proceedings."
Russia's motivation to clean up its anti-doping program: The Olympics are nine months away.
Dick Pound, who wrote the report about unfettered doping on the Russian track team, called a potential ban from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro the "nuclear weapon" that could be used against the Russian sports federation.
The 350-page report released Monday called for the suspension of Russia's federation. There's no timeframe for the suspension but Pound says it's clear the message is, either Russia gets it done or they're not going to be in Rio de Janeiro for the games.
The leader of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency applauded today's report about doping in Russian track, saying it sent an encouraging message that cheaters can't escape justice.
Travis Tygart says "if Russia has created an organized scheme of state-supported doping, then they have no business being allowed to compete on the world stage."
Among the recommendations in the 350-page report is for the suspension of the Russian athletics federation.
The integrity of results at the 2014 Sochi Olympics could be put in doubt by the WADA inquiry.
WADA panel chairman Dick Pound says "I don't think we can be confident here was no manipulation" of doping tests at the Winter Games.
Pound's report aired concerns from staff at the Moscow laboratory that they were infiltrated while working in Sochi by Russian secret service agents.
The Moscow lab was revealed to be part of a conspiracy to conceal widespread doping and to report to the FSB intelligence agency.
Despite Pound's concerns about dirty athletes succeeding at Sochi, he says "we don't have any hard evidence that there was."
The man who investigated doping in Russian track says it's about time the World Anti-Doping Agency forms a compliance committee instead of leaving those decisions to others.
Among the recommendations in the 350-page report about doping in Russian track is that WADA take a more active role in ensuring compliance of its code.
Dick Pound, who spearheaded the 350-page report about doping in Russian track, says countries have had more than 10 years to become compliant with the code and if they haven't done it by now, they must not be trying very hard.
Instead of urging countries to become compliant, Pound says it's time for WADA to become more punitive when they do not.
He called the report a pretty damning indictment of what has not been done, and says it's time for higher-ups at WADA to decide, "Are we going to do this properly, or should we all go home?"
The Russian athletics federation tells The Associated Press that it will defend itself against the World Anti-Doping Agency commission's allegation that it oversaw systematic doping by athletes.
The federation's acting president, Vadim Zelichenok, says calls for Russia to be banned from athletics are not "objective" because the organization's management changed in the spring, after the cases in the report.
He says that while he "can't decide on behalf of the international federation," he hopes the IAAF will not suspend Russia.
Zelichenok says while there have been doping cases in Russia "I don't believe it is of a systematic nature," adding that Russia has "totally blocked" access to doping products following a string of scandals.
Zelichenok also says he does not believe the Russian government or security services helped to cover up doping cases, and dismissed claims that a little-known Moscow laboratory was used to circumvent doping test procedures, saying that facility does not work with elite athletes.
The IAAF says it will consider sanctions against Russia, including possible suspension of the national athletics federation.
Such a move would result in the ban of Russian track and field athletes from international competition, including the Olympics.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced the decision after the release of a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel that accused Russia of state-sponsored doping in athletics.
Coe says he "has taken the urgent step" of seeking approval from the IAAF council to consider sanctions against the Russian Athletics Federation.
He says "these sanctions could include provisional and full suspension and the removal of future IAAF events."
Coe calls the WADA report "alarming."
He says "we will do whatever it takes to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust in our sport."
The next step in the Russian doping scandal comes next week when the World Anti-Doping Agency's executive committee and foundation board meet in Colorado Springs.
Dick Pound, who led the investigation into widespread doping in track, said it was important to get the report out this week so the WADA boards can act on it next week.
Among the recommendations: Lifetime suspensions for five Russian athletes, the stripping of accreditation of the Russian anti-doping lab and suspension of the Russian athletics federation.
Interpol will coordinate an investigation into widespread doping in track and field.
The international police agency, based in Lyon, France, said the investigation involving sports officials and athletes suspected of doping cover-ups is led by France.
French prosecutors are already investigating former IAAF President Lamine Diack, who was put under criminal investigation last week on suspicion of corruption and money laundering amid allegations linking his sons to extorting money from athletes who tested positive for doping.
Interpol, whose assistance has been requested by the World Anti-Doping Agency panel investigating the doping allegations, said in a statement that French police also "raided premises belonging to individuals and companies" last week.
WADA commission leader Dick Pound says Russia seems to have been running a "state-supported" doping program.
Pound says "I don't think there's any other possible conclusion."
On Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko, Pound says he believes it was "not possible for him to be unaware of it."
Pound says if Mutko, who is also a FIFA executive committee member, was "aware of it he was complicit in it."
Pound suggests "it may be a residue of the old Soviet Union system."
The man who spearheaded an investigation into doping in Russian track said the widespread rule-breaking is "worse than we thought."
While discussing the 300-plus-page report released Monday, Dick Pound said that, unlike corruption in other sports, the Russian doping scandal has actually affected results on the field of play.
He was drawing a parallel to the FIFA scandal, in which top soccer executives have been accused of widespread corruption.
The track scandal is different because, according to the report, track athletes have been allowed to compete even though authorities in their country knew they were cheating.
The report said the London Olympics were more or less sabotaged because of this.
The leader of the commission investigating widespread doping in the Russian track system says he wants to see better ways for whistleblowers to come forward without feeling the risk of retribution.
Dick Pound, who spearheaded the report, said the World Anti-Doping Agency should find ways to make it easier for truth-tellers to speak out.
The Canadian says that often, whistleblowers are reluctant to come forward but says the report released Monday is proof that there can be results from speaking out. And, he says, the 350-page report is just the tip of the iceberg.
Among the recommendations was the lifetime bans of five athletes, four coaches and another administrator in the Russian program.
The gold and bronze-medal winners at 800 meters at the London Olympics are among the five Russian runners targeted for lifetime bans by an independent commission tasked with investigating widespread doping in that country.
The commission recommended lifetime bans for Olympic champion Mariya Savinova-Farnosova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova.
The commission's report said the London Games were sabotaged because track's governing body and Russia's anti-doping authority didn't take doping seriously enough and allowed runners to compete who should not have.
The recommended lifetime bans were part of the commission's 350-page report that came out Monday.
The WADA commission suspects Russia has been using an obscure laboratory on the outskirts of Moscow to help cover up widespread doping, possibly by pre-screening athletes' doping samples and ditching those that test positive.
It says whistleblowers and confidential witnesses "corroborated that this second laboratory is involved in the destruction and the cover-up of what would otherwise be positive doping tests."
It says the "Laboratory of the Moscow Committee of Sport for Identification for Prohibited Substances in Athlete Samples" is controlled by the Moscow city government and operates in an industrial zone about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the city center.
It says this laboratory "could be used as a first step to identify test samples of Russian athletes who have suspicious or positive urine samples" and that "pre-screened samples that were not positive could then be sent to the accredited laboratory," also in Moscow.
It says the Russian anti-doping agency and Russian athletics federation must know about the lab, stating "it is not credible to believe" that they didn't.
The WADA commission wants the agency to strip accreditation from the Moscow laboratory and fire lab director Grigory Rodchenkov.
The report says the "Moscow laboratory is unable to act independently," citing interference from government agencies, including the FSB secret service.
The report says Rodchenkov is "an aider and abettor of the doping activities" and "at the heart of the positive drug test cover-up."
Rodchenkov was key to "the conspiracy to extort money from athletes in order to cover up positive doping test results."
In one case, he was paid indirectly by an athlete, who turned whistleblower, to hide a failed doping test. The cash courier was "a known performance-enhancing substances trafficker."
Under Rodchenkov's leadership, "many tests that the laboratory has conducted should be considered highly suspect."
The Moscow lab oversaw testing for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and is due to work on FIFA's anti-doping program for the 2018 World Cup.
The WADA report says Moscow testing laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov ordered 1,417 doping control samples destroyed to deny evidence for the inquiry.
The inquiry report says Rodchenkov "personally instructed and authorized" the destruction of evidence three days before a WADA audit team arrived in Moscow last December.
The WADA panel says it wanted to send the Russian athletes' samples to labs in other countries to detect banned drugs and doping methods.
The report says Rodchenkov's action "obliterated forever the attempt to determine if there was any evidence of athletes having clean and dirty 'A' samples at the Moscow laboratory."
When the auditors arrived in Moscow, Rodchenkov told them he decided to "do some clean up to prepare for WADA's visit."
Rodchenkov, the report notes, "remained obstructive" throughout the investigation and refused to be recorded.
The WADA reports says agents from Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, infiltrated anti-doping work at the Sochi Olympics.
The report says "impartiality, judgment and integrity were compromised by the surveillance of the FSB within the laboratory."
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."
The inquiry says this was part of a wider pattern of "direct intimidation and interference by the Russian state with the Moscow laboratory operations."
Staff at the Moscow lab believed their offices were bugged by the FSB.
An FSB agent, thought to be Evgeniy Blotkin or Blokhin, regularly visited.
The report says lab director Grigory Rodchenkov was required to meet with Blotkin/Blokhin weekly to update him on the "mood of WADA."
The commission looking into widespread doping in Russian athletics has recommended lifetime bans for five Russian middle-distance runners and five Russian coaches and administrators.
The commission said that the London Olympics were more or less sabotaged by allowing Russian athletes to compete when they should have been suspended for doping violations.
They blamed what they called an inexplicable laissez-faire attitude toward anti-doping by the IAAF and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.
The World Anti-Doping Agency sent the recommendations for the lifetime suspensions to the IAAF in August and made them public today with release of a 350-page report detailing the allegations.
The WADA commission says the Russian sports ministry issued direct orders to "manipulate particular samples."
Sports minister Vitaly Mutko denied knowledge of allegations to the WADA inquiry panel, including knowledge of athletes being blackmailed and FSB intelligence agents interfering in lab work.
Mutko, who is also a FIFA executive committee member and leads the 2018 World Cup organizing committee, was interviewed by the WADA panel at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich on Sept. 22.
His ministry is cited in the report for asserting undue influence over the Moscow lab.
Mutko did tell the WADA inquiry he was "disgusted with the whistleblowers" who made claims of corruption.
The report says Mutko "does not believe their allegations and says they had no right to make the recordings and that such tapings are matters for the public prosecutors."
WADA's independent commission says Russia's athletics federation should be suspended and its track and field athletes banned from competition until the country cleans up its act on doping.
The commission recommends that the World Anti-Doping Agency immediately declare the Russian federation "non-compliant" with the global anti-doping code, and that the IAAF suspend the federation from competition.
The report recommends that the International Olympic Committee 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.
But the WADA report says "timely action" by Russian authorities "should mean that no significant competitions will be missed."
The WADA commission has directly accused the Russian government of complicity in the widespread doping and cover-ups exposed in a damning 323-page report.
It says its 11-month probe hasn't found written evidence of government involvement.
But it says "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."
While its report largely focuses on doping in Russian athletics, it adds "there is no reason to believe that athletics is the only sport in Russia to have been affected."