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Assistant coach says Rostov FC footballers never took meldonium

May 13, 2016, 14:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The coach said it was for the first time in his career to see such mass doping examination of players

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© Valeriy Matytsin/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. Players of the Russian football club Rostov have been never taking banned performance enhancing drug meldonium, Yury Solano, the club’s assistant coach on physical training, told TASS on Friday.

Following Rostov’s match against Dinamo Moscow FC on Thursday night (3-1), all 11 players from Russia’s southern football club were summoned for doping tests. Head of FIFA Medical Department Jiri Dvorak told TASS that the doping examination followed information that Rostov FC earlier acquired large quantities of mildronate.

"Rostov’s footballers have never been consuming meldronate,"Solano said in an interview with TASS. "It will be proved after the analysis of doping samples."

The coach said it was for the first time in his career to see such mass doping examination of players.

"This is for the first time in my career when all 11 players were requested for doping control," he said. "I cannot recall such cases taking place either in the Russian Championship, or the Champions League or Europa League."

The coach also said that the team reacted calmly to the suddenly requested doping examination following the match against Dinamo Moscow.

"I do not think somebody is interested that Rostov must not be highly ranked in the Russian Championship," Solano said. "The only problem caused by the examination is that it affected the process of players’ post-game recovery.’

"Footballers usually begin preparing for the next game right after the match, while we wasted two hours remaining at the stadium and undergoing the necessary procedures," he added.

The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by WADA from January 1, 2016. The presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).

Meldronate is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced on April 13 that the concentration of less than one microgram of meldonium in the body system of an athlete, whose doping tests were conducted before March 1, was acceptable.

Following its 3-1 victory over Dinamo on Thursday, Rostov moved to the second place of the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL).

FC Rostov General Director Oleg Lopatin announced on Thursday that the club was licensed to take part in 2016/17 European tournaments.

During the 2015/16 season, it was numerously reported about the club’s debts. Media reports said the club was experiencing financial difficulties.

FC Rostov had licensing problems last year and in 2014 it was not admitted to participation in the Europa League. The sanctions on the club were lifted after the club’s appeal was granted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

Chairman of the FC Rostov Board of Directors Ali Uzdenov earlier told TASS that the club would repay all its debts by the 2016/17 football season.

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