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Russia will tighten responsibility for doping violations — Putin

July 01, 2016, 19:45 UTC+3

Law enforcers will be empowered to investigate such cases

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

NAANTALI /Finland/, July 1. /TASS/. Russia will tighten the responsibility for doping abuse by athletes, while law enforcers will be empowered to investigate such cases, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"The responsibility (for doping abuse) must be tightened," Putin said adding that he had discussed the issue with the government on Thursday.

"We’ve made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation: to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances," Putin said, adding he hoped a future State Duma would support the amendments.

Commenting on the situation around accusations of doping abuse by Russian athletes, Putin noted that Russia is thankful to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and promised to study its information on doping among Russian athletes attentively.

"We should be thankful to our counterparts from WADA and should treat the information they've provided in a most serious way," he said, adding that Russia has always fought with doping at state level and will continue doing it.

"We hope the information we'll be receiving ourselves or will be getting otherwise will be unbiased," Putin said adding this is the sphere where conclusions should not be made on the basis of rumors or simply suspicions.

"We must get facts," he said. In his words, Russia’s prosecutor general’s office and the Investigations Committee conduct corresponding checks and taking efforts to receive such facts.

"It is inadmissible to rely on the words of people who say it was them to commit violations and spread doping," Putin stressed. "It is them who are violators and who are responsible for this situation."

Russian sport has been in the center of doping-related scandals since last year. Starting this year doping control in Russian sports has been exercised by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) strictly under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).

WADA’s Independent Commission published on November 9 last year results of its probe into the activity of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Sports Ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the finding of the agency’s Independent Commission that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organization.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decided at its session in Vienna on June 17 to keep in force the suspension of the membership of the all-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) in the global athletics body citing the Russian organization’s failure to implement the previously set requirements of the IAAF.

The suspension means that Russian field and track athletes are currently ineligible to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

An exception will only be made for the athletes who will prove they are uninvolved in doping scandals.

The IAAF emphasized that Russians would be admitted to competitions on an individual basis but would be unable to perform as part of the national team and would participate only under the neutral flag.

The Olympic summit on June 21 resolved that Russian athletes who would undergo the IAAF’s check into their non-involvement in anti-doping violations would be able to take part in the Rio Olympic Games. What’s more, they will be able to perform under the Russian flag.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has said Russian athletes can’t be denied the right to perform at the Olympic Games under the national flag because the Olympic Committee of Russia has not been disqualified.

For this purpose, athletes should file applications to the IAAF before July 4, which will be considered by the world athletic body in an individual manner.

The Olympic Games will be held in Brazil the period from August 5 to 21.

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