MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren has dropped his earlier accusations that the Russian state authorities were behind the recent doping scandals in Russian sports, Russia’s senior anti-doping official said on Thursday.
McLaren is the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Independent Commission, which probed the allegations of the widespread doping abuse in Russian sports. The commission came up with two reports accusing Russian athletes of performance enhancing drugs abuse with the support of state authorities.
"Our first contact with (WADA President) Craig Reedie took place as soon as our commission was established and it was in early August during the (2016 Olympic) Games," Vitaly Smirnov, the head of the Russian Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission (IPADC), said.
"At that time we never spoke about McLaren," Smirnov said. "Our task at that time was to make our (anti-doping) agency independent with the independent sources of financing. However, new requirements followed."
"As the situation kept developing, it turned out that not everything was clear in the McLaren report," he said. "As you may well know we met with him in Zurich. This is where he acknowledged the fact that he drops his accusations regarding the alleged government’s involvement in the process."
"In other words, he (McLaren) is acknowledging his mistakes and is now correcting them," Smirnov added. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Executive Board approved in late July last year the establishment of the public anti-doping commission. Smirnov, who is also an International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) honorary member, was appointed the head of the new body.