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Russian Sports Ministry urges WADA to focus on real facts in anti-doping investigation

November 10, 2015, 9:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW
WADA’s independent commission recommended to ban to suspend Russian athletes from the competitions under the auspices of the IAAF and strip the Moscow anti-doping laboratory of its license
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MOSCOW, November 10. /TASS/. Russia’s Sports Ministry has called on the World Anti-Doping Agency to focus on real facts during the investigation against Russian athletes, the ministry said in a statement posted on the website of the International Sports Press Association.

WADA’s independent commission has released a report on Monday, it which it recommended to suspend Russian athletes from the competitions under the auspices of the International Association of Athletics Federations as well as to strip the Moscow anti-doping laboratory of its license and dismiss its director Grigory Rodchenkov because of numerous violations of the anti-doping rules.

"The Russian Ministry of Sports will carefully study all the decisions and facts on which this report was made and take the appropriate measures," the statement says. "However, there is a big difference between information that journalists provide and proven facts and evidence which naturally an investigation such as this should be based on. So, we urge WADA to rely on the real facts and evidence."

Half of problems in WADA’s report ungrounded, others can be rectified

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Monday that half of the problems stated in Monday’s report of the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in regard to the Moscow anti-doping laboratory can be rectified, others are ungrounded.

"The [Moscow anti-doping] laboratory’s was suspended before the Olympics in Sochi," Mutko said in an interview with Rossiya-24 television channel. "Within the course of six months about 30 WADA experts were studying the work of the laboratory disintegrating it up to a single molecule. Eventually they ruled that it’s [laboratory’s] work complies with WADA requirements."

"Afterwards we hosted outstanding Olympic Games [in 2014]," the Russian minister said. "We received not just the grade A, but grade A++ for the work of the laboratory. Then we held the World Aquatics Championship in Kazan [on July 24-August 9, 2015] and once again received the highest possible grade."

"I have no clue what had happened over the past six months, but there are problems with the laboratory once more," Mutko said. "Half of these problems can be rectified if necessary, the other half has no proof except some allegations. There are no facts."

Following the commission’s report, Interpol announced that it would join a coordinating work led by France into "an alleged international corruption scam involving sports officials as well as athletes suspected of a doping cover-up."

"The announcement follows today’s publication of a report by an Independent Commission established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigating a number of individuals, including former officials of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)," Interpol said in a statement posted on its official website.

"The Independent Commission’s findings follow its investigation into doping allegations aired on German television in December 2014," the statement said adding that the investigation would be headed by French investigative magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke.

Russian Sports Minister Mutko said "Interpol had been recommended to carry on with the investigation. This recommendation is the right one."

"But this is no criminal case for us. This is the criminal case against the IAAF president," Mutko said. "Let us see what is going on over there. It is them, who set out the rules for the rest of the world."

"I would like to reiterate that there were no new facts. But if there are any, we will treat them very scrupulously," Mutko added.

The Russian sports minister added that Russia was involved in the fight against doping abuse under the leadership of WADA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a long time.

"Russia signed the Anti-Doping Convention," Mutko said. "Since 2009 we had covered a great way under the leadership of WADA and UNESCO. We [Russia] passed a relevant law. We opened the borders of the Russian Federation."

"Today any [doping] sample can be taken here and allowed to be transferred abroad," he said. "We have invested enormous money to set up the laboratory. We did everything we were recommended. We have set up the anti-doping organization RUSADA, based on the exemplary requirements of WADA and IOC."

"We have worked with them and worked in order with all of their requirements," Mutko said. "If such work cannot be appreciated I can hardly find any words."

"We pay WADA $1 million in mandatory annual contributions," he said. "We deposit an annual sum of $300,000 into WADA foundation and UNESCO researches. I have no clue what else should we do in order for them to say that we comply."

"The fight against doping is the fight against our common evil," Mutko added.

In December 2014 German TV Channel ARD aired a series of documentaries on alleged doping abuse in Russian sports. The ARD’s two-part documentary titled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case) claimed that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

The Sunday Times too alleged that Russian athletes suspected of doping abuse had won 80% of medals for their country at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012.

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