MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and the World Anti-Doping Agency were once again at loggerheads Thursday following WADA’s demand that the Russian government must accept the findings of a report which accused its officials of overseeing a mass doping cover-up.
The dispute comes a day before the start of the track and field world championships in London, which will feature 19 Russians officially competing as “neutral athletes,” with many others prevented from taking part. Arguments over past doping offenses could delay Russia’s full return to international competition.
Last year’s report by WADA investigator Richard McLaren said Russian Sports Ministry officials decided which athletes to “save” by covering up failed drug tests, and oversaw a plan to swap samples containing banned substances at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In a new road map, WADA has made acceptance of the report by the ministry and Russian Olympic Committee a key point as Russia tries to have its national drug-testing agency, known as RUSADA, reinstated.
“There was no state program and there cannot be one, this didn’t happen in Russia,” Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told Russian news agency Tass on Thursday. “We will not admit something that did not happen.”
Some ministry officials resigned last year following McLaren’s allegations, but the government has never said they were responsible for any of the abuses alleged in the report, which concerned dozens of sports and hundreds of athletes over several years.
Vitaly Smirnov, the head of an anti-doping commission set up by Russian…
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