MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. A decision made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to bar the Russian national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics has no impact on the country’s preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the press service of the world’s governing body of football announced to TASS.
"FIFA has taken note of the decision made by the IOC regarding the participation of Russian athletes at the upcoming Winter Olympics," the FIFA said in its statement addressed to TASS. "This decision has no impact on the preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as we continue to work to deliver the best possible event."
An IOC commission, led by Samuel Schmid, established that Russia allegedly employed a system of manipulations with doping samples collected from national athletes.
Based on the commission’s findings, the IOC announced its decision on Tuesday night to suspend the Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations. The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia could go to the 2018 Olympic Games in the status of neutral athletes.
According to the statement from the FIFA, the international organization continuously held intense doping tests in Russia, particularly during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and all results were negative.
"FIFA continues to take every measure at its competitions to ensure football remains free from doping," the statement from FIFA said. "For the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 played in Russia, every participating player was tested in unannounced controls and further systematic tests were performed at every match. All results were negative."
"A similar protocol will be in place for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, with the analysis of all doping samples to be carried out at WADA laboratories outside Russia," the statement added.
The statement also said that FIFA had always been a staunch opponent of doping abuse in sports, but would never resort to sanctions based on "mere suspicion or limited facts."
"As has already been communicated, when it comes to anti-doping measures, FIFA takes its responsibility very seriously and is investigating the allegations made in the ‘McLaren report,’ the statement said. "In this process, FIFA is working in close collaboration with WADA and has been in contact with Prof. McLaren."
"Should there be enough evidence to demonstrate the violation of any anti-doping rules by any athlete, FIFA would impose the appropriate sanction," according to the FIFA. "On the other hand, it should be stressed that sanctions cannot be imposed based on mere suspicion or limited facts."
After successfully hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was held last Friday on December 1 at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow and determined the group breakdown for the FIFA flagship event next year. A total of 32 national football squads were divided into eight groups with four teams in each.
The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.