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Kremlin says ARD doping documentary contains "unconvincing data"

The Kremlin says the new documentary of Germany’s ARD lacks substantial evidence

MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The new documentary of Germany’s ARD TV channel on doping abuse in Russia that has accusations against Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko consists of "unconvincing data", the Kremlin said on Thursday.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that he had not seen the ARD film but read many reports highlighting its contents. "There is nothing new here, the data is quite unconvincing. It is not backed by any substantial evidence," the Kremlin spokesman said.

"We continue to believe that this is an unsubstantiated slander. We are convinced that doping must be fought, including in keeping with instructions from the Russian president. Our country wages irreconcilable war against doping. We denounce those who used doping and believe these reports should not cast aspersions on all our athletes who compete honestly," Peskov said.

Russian sports has been in the center of doping-related scandals since last year. Starting this year doping control in Russian sports has been exercised by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) strictly under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD). WADA’s Independent Commission published on November 9 last year the results of its probe into the activity of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the RUSADA and the Russian Sports Ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances. RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the finding of the agency’s Independent Commission that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organization.

Experts say it is highly possible that Russian national athletics teams will be suspended from this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Brazil in case the IAAF did not return Russia back its membership. The IAAF is set to make a decision on the restoration of ARAF’s membership at its Council session on June 17 in Vienna.