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FIFA slams repeated British media reports on Russian footballers’ alleged doping abuse

In response to the allegations voiced by Britain’s weekly Mail on Sunday, FIFA stated that "as usual Mr. Harris provides the public with a very selective view of the facts

MOSCOW, June 24. /TASS/. /TASS/. The world’s governing football body, FIFA, had already conducted its own probe into allegations of doping abuse among players of the Russian national team and they turned out to be false, FIFA said in its statement addressed to TASS.

FIFA announced in its statement that its own investigation’s results had been repeatedly approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) early this year and recent reports on behalf of certain British media agencies were ungrounded.

This weekend, Britain’s weekly Mail on Sunday published a report, in which its author Nick Harris alleged that the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts Russia "plunged into fresh doping turmoil, as The Mail on Sunday reveal new evidence of state-sponsored doping and cover-ups the world governing body have buried."

According to Harris, "FIFA had documentary proof of institutional cover-ups in Russian football 18 months ago but have apparently done nothing to hold Russia’s FA (the Russian Football Union) or Sports Ministry to account."

In response to the allegations voiced by Britain’s weekly Mail on Sunday, FIFA stated that "as usual Mr. Harris provides the public with a very selective view of the facts. His article gives ample space to the opinions of people external to the investigations and voluntarily fails to state the key point of this matter."

According to the world’s governing football body, the key points to this matter are that "FIFA’s investigations were conducted in collaboration with WADA and WADA agreed with FIFA’s conclusions."

"Therefore, we can only conclude that Mr. Harris believes that WADA’s position is not relevant in this case," FIFA said adding that "the investigations concerning Russian players named for the provisional squad of the FIFA World Cup in Russia have been completed and the cases have been closed."

"In the course of the investigations FIFA looked at every possible evidence, leaving no stone unturned," according to FIFA’s statement. "We spoke with Mr. McLaren and he did not mention to us that a football player had committed an anti-doping rule violation."

"Furthermore, we raised a long list of questions with Dr. Rodchenkov, we retested all suspicious samples for prohibited substances, we conducted a forensic analysis on samples for scratches and marks and abnormal levels of salt, we analyzed the data from the Moscow lab (Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory), LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) database and we conducted target testing of Russian players," FIFA stated.

"These investigations were conducted in close collaboration with WADA and WADA agreed with FIFA’s conclusions to close the cases," FIFA said in its statement for TASS.

In mid-May, FIFA announced that it made an impartial decision to close all investigative cases into numerous allegations regarding violations of anti-doping regulations on behalf of Russian footballers.

McLaren’s doping allegations against Russia

Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, who headed the WADA Independent Commission, announced in June 2017 that Russia had a system to cover up acts of doping abuse in football. According to McLaren, a special bank with clean doping samples was allegedly in place and was used for samples’ substitution.

British weekly The Mail on Sunday came up with a report also in June 2017 that FIFA was holding investigations in regard to 34 Russian footballers, including 23 from the country’s national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

In response to all allegations, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said at that time that all doping samples of Russian footballers, collected at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, tested negative for banned performance enhancing drugs.

In mid-December 2017, the WADA Intelligence and Investigations Team met with over 60 representatives from international sports federations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and other Anti-Doping Organizations to share information from the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) database of the former WADA-accredited Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

FIFA was among the sports organizations, which were provided with new data from WADA regarding doping testing in Russia, including in football.