MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is ready to begin post-match testing of Russian footballers after the resumption of the 2019/2020 season of the Russian Premier League (RPL), RUSADA Deputy Director General Margarita Pakhnotskaya told TASS on Monday.
The RPL Executive Board made a decision last Friday to resume matches of the Russian Football Championship, which was postponed several times earlier in the year due to the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus, starting from June 21.
Prior to the RPL shutdown, the league’s clubs completed 22 out of 30 scheduled rounds of the championship. On April 1, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) recommended European football federations to complete halted tournaments.
"RUSADA has not yet received a draft of regulations on the organization of football matches during the coronavirus pandemic, but I believe that we will have this document after it is approved and then coordinated with [Russia’s consumer watchdog] Rospotrebnadzor," Pakhnotskaya said in an interview with TASS.
"I can personally say that with the resumption of the football season we [RUSADA] intend to continue with our post-matches testing work with players in full conformity with all sanitary and epidemiological norms," she continued.
"Each stadium offers a space for doping control testing work and, as far as I understand, such premises, just like all locker rooms and referees’ room, will be subjected to thorough disinfection measures, while doping control officers will still be able to arrive for matches without a prior notification of the organizers," Pakhnotskaya added.
Between January and March this year, RUSADA inspectors tested 17 players from clubs of the Russian Premier League. On March 27, RUSADA announced its decision to halt athletes’ testing for banned performance enhancing substances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 4,820,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 316,900 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 1,866,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 290,678 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 70,209 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 2,722 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.