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Russian deputy PM comments on suspension cases of six cross-country skiers

February 08, 15:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On December 23, the International Ski Federation slapped provisional suspensions on six Russian cross-country skiers over alleged violations of anti-doping rules at the 2014 Winter Olympics

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MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/. A situation regarding provisional suspensions of six Russian cross-country skiers, imposed last year over alleged violations of anti-doping rules, remains complicated, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday.

On December 23, the International Ski Federation (FIS) slapped provisional suspensions on six Russian cross-country skiers over alleged violations of anti-doping rules at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

The athletes subjected to the provisional suspensions are four male skiers, namely Alexander Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Yevgeny Belov and Alexey Petukhov and two female skiers - Julia Ivanova and Evgenia Shapovalova. The decision was made in the wake of the infamous McLaren Report.

"We are currently in a very complicated situation," Mutko, who oversees issues regarding sports, tourism and youth policies in the country, told journalists.

"There is still no general conclusion on the (McLaren) report and sports federations are making their own decisions," he said. "However, we have a report and we have a special commission with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), which must carry out its own investigation and, most importantly, hear arguments on behalf of Russia."

Russian cross country skier Maxim Vylegzhanin told TASS on Tuesday that he and his teammates Alexey Petukhov, Julia Ivanova and Evgenia Shapovalova were set to appeal their provisional suspension with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. The FIS ruled on Tuesday to keep in force earlier imposed provisional suspensions in regard to the four athletes at the issue.

On January 25, the FIS Anti-Doping Panel ruled to keep in force the provisional suspensions of Legkov and Belov. Both athletes later filed appeals with the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport disputing the FIS ruling.

According to Part Two of the report, delivered in early December in London by the WADA Independent Commission and its chairman, Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, more than 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and Paralympic sports could have been involved in an alleged manipulation scheme to conceal positive doping tests.

Part Two of McLaren’s report claimed in particular that doping samples of 12 Russian medalists of 2014 Winter Games in Sochi had been tampered with. In addition, doping tests of two more Russian athletes, who won four gold medals of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, had been falsified as well.

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