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FIFA closes doping case against Russian footballers

May 22, 18:26 UTC+3

The world’s governing football body says it found no evidence into allegations of Russian footballer’s doping abuse

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© EPA/DOMINIC STEINMANN

MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. The world’s governing football body, FIFA, announced on Tuesday that it found no evidence into allegations of Russian footballer’s doping abuse and closed its case based on the so-called McLaren report.

"Following the publication of the McLaren reports, FIFA launched investigations into possible anti-doping rule violations by football players, prioritizing high-level players against whom a suspicion had been raised, in particular those who might participate in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia," the FIFA said in a statement.

Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, who headed the WADA Independent Commission, announced last June that Russia had a system to cover up acts of doping abuse in football. According to McLaren, a special bank with clean doping samples was allegedly in place and was used for samples’ substitution.

"FIFA can today confirm that the investigations concerning all Russian players named for the provisional squad of the FIFA World Cup in Russia have been completed, with the result that insufficient evidence was found to assert an anti-doping rule violation," the statement said. "FIFA has informed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of its conclusions, and WADA in turn has agreed with FIFA’s decision to close the cases."

"Samples taken by FIFA and the confederations that had been stored at WADA-accredited laboratories of all players mentioned in the McLaren reports and high-level players, were re-analyzed for prohibited substances, and all results were negative," the statement said.

The FIFA also said that found no evidence at all that all bottles with collected doping samples were tampered with as it had been alleged before in the McLaren report.

"Samples seized by WADA from the Moscow laboratory and stored at the Lausanne laboratory were subjected to forensic analysis (for scratches/marks and abnormal salt levels)," according to the statement. "For this process, FIFA applied the methodology recommended by WADA and used by the International Olympic Committee.

"None of the samples analyzed showed marks that were typical of tampering and the urine did not show any suspect salt values," the FIFA stated.

The world’s governing football body also said that during its investigation into the matter it carried out a series of unannounced doping tests of players from the Russian national football team and on top of all "the Russian squad has been one of the most tested teams prior to the FIFA World Cup."

"Investigations of several players unrelated to the FIFA World Cup™ are still ongoing and FIFA will continue to work on these cases in cooperation with WADA," FIFA added.

Doping allegations against Russian football

British weekly The Mail on Sunday came up with a report in June 2017 that FIFA was holding investigations in regard to 34 Russian footballers, including 23 from the country’s national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

In response to all allegations, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that all doping samples of Russian footballers, collected at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, tested negative for banned performance enhancing drugs.

In mid-December 2017, the WADA Intelligence and Investigations Team met with over 60 representatives from international sports federations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and other Anti-Doping Organizations to share information from the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) database of the former WADA-accredited Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

FIFA was among the sports organizations, which were provided with new data from WADA regarding doping testing in Russia, including in football.

Following the meeting, FIFA announced that it would first study the data obtained from the WADA before discussing it with the Russian Football Union.

2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in 23 days with the opening match in the Russian capital of Moscow.

Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.

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