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Majority of sports federations refusing to launch probes against Russian athletes

September 13, 13:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The New York Times reported earlier that the World Anti-Doping Agency "has agreed to clear 95 of the first 96 athletes whose cases have been reviewed"

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MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. Most international sports federations either refuse to launch disciplinary proceedings against Russian athletes or drop them due to lack of evidence of any violations against anti-doping rules, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, first vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) told TASS.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the World Anti-Doping Agency, which regulates drugs in sports and collected evidence of Russia’s alleged doping scheme, "has agreed to clear 95 of the first 96 athletes whose cases have been reviewed." The names of athletes have not been revealed. The paper claims that the regulator has failed to obtain testimony of whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who formerly headed Russia’s anti-doping lab and now lives in the United States.

"Over the past year, the Russian Olympic Committee together with our partners - Russia’s sports federations - have been combing through (Richard) McLaren’s report," Pozdnyakov stated. "We were in close contact with international sports federations to contribute to a just and fair investigation. Now we can say that in most cases international federations either refuse to launch disciplinary proceedings or close the cases after opening them due to the lack of evidence or their absence. This refers to fencing, judo, biathlon, modern pentathlon, rowing, badminton and so on."

"Some international federations have kept up investigations, for example in biathlon a probe is being carried out against six athletes, and was halted against 22. In cross-country skiing, an investigation persists against six athletes, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) recently ruled that starting from November 1 these athletes may take part in competitions and the temporary suspension was lifted. The same situation is in the troubled track and field athletics: they spoke about 50 athletes (under inquiry), but an investigation is being conducted against five."

"So, it is absolutely clear that information in McLaren’s report and related documents is incomplete and in many cases not true and cannot serve as grounds for recognizing that an athlete violated anti-doping rules," he stressed.

"No Russian athlete has so far been disqualified over the report," he emphasized. "As of today, out of more than 1,000 Russian athletes mentioned in the report no one has been found guilty and has been disqualified due on the report. This is a fact."

The report of WADA’s independent panel has two parts: one of them was released in July 2016 ahead of the Rio Olympic Games, and the second was unveiled in December. Richard McLaren, a sports lawyer who led the panel, claimed that more than 1,000 athletes in 30 different sports were involved in an alleged program of systematic doping.

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