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Putin says world anti-doping system must be open

The Russian president urges to settle issue with the Therapeutic Usage Exemptions in sports to avoid doping abuse
Russian President Vladimir Putin Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian President Vladimir Putin
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

KOVROV (Vladimir Region), October 11. /TASS/. The anti-doping system in world sports should be governed by understandable rules and be absolutely open, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

"Sports, of course, should be outside doping. But we must undoubtedly be confident in what and how this is done in this most important sphere. We must all know who is checked, how is checked, when and by which means, what the results of these checks are and what is done following these results," Putin said at an international sports forum tiled: "Russia - Country of Sports" being held in the Vladimir Region.

As the Russian president said, "it is undoubtedly necessary to get rid of all abuses in this sphere."

As Putin said, "sport is rightly called a universal language of communication."

"We must do everything possible together to ensure the cleanliness of sport so that it can become absolutely open and be outside politics so that its ideas and values unite countries and peoples," the Russian president said.

As the Russian president noted, "politics today, as we can see, interferes in sports."

However, as Putin said, when we speak about the cleanliness of sport, we mean not only politics.

TUEs in sports 

The president called on the international society to resolve the issue of performance enhancing drugs abuse by athletes, who are officially allowed taking banned preparations under the so-called Therapeutic Usage Exemptions (TUEs).

"Today we clearly see how many permissions certain athletes receive under the so-called medical exemptions," Putin said.

"It seems to be true and I would rather refrain from giving my personal evaluations at the moment," he said. "But we need to understand what to do with it, otherwise we will see in the nearest future all the new records and victories in sports brought by athletes, who suffer from chronic diseases."

"It is obvious that athletes must be protected, but we need to understand what we should do regarding this issue," the Russian president added.

"Russia and the other countries are interested in having a system of resistance to doping that would be transparent and open and, what is most important, guarantee the unconditional equality of all members of the large Olympic family," Putin said, adding that Russia would do its utmost to this end.

"Perhaps, we should put them (these athletes) into a special category and measure their merits, points, seconds and achievements in a special way. I do not know, I do not have the answer so far but it is absolutely clear that we should contemplate this issue," the Russian president noted.

"The procedures should be more transparent. This is sport rather than military production: the deployment of ballistic missiles and other arms. We are not talking about military technologies," Putin said.

"Everybody should know about that," Putin stressed.

"As we have come to know - and the World Anti-Doping Agency is not denying that - dozens or hundreds of athletes are taking these (banned) substances. Does anybody know that? No one does. Everything is done secretly," the Russian leader said describing the current situation.

"It is clear that the whole system can and should be improved. But I do not think that we should kick up a row or produce any concert whistling," Putin stressed.

Meldonium scandal

Putin has called "a dubious story" the scandal around accusations of Russian athletes of the use of Meldonium.

"As regards the unfortunate Meldonium, it’s a dubious story there," Putin said at a meeting of the council on development of physical culture and sports.

"We all know, and specialists say, that it does not give an advantage in sports competitions, only supports the cardiac muscle during excessive loads," he said.

"And, by all rules, doping is a substance that gives an advantage in sports competitions," Putin said.

He added that the substance has been used for decades, "and there have been no problems with it".

Putin once again called "to work with colleagues, including from WADA" on the issue.

Sports in Russia 

Putin has welcomed the idea to recreate fitness and sports societies in Russia.

"The problem of attracting economically active population to sport remains urgent. The structures and organizations, which we have today, are not enough," he said.

"The proposal of the Council’s working group to recreate fitness and sports societies is certainly justified and promising," Putin stressed, adding that the government may consider tax incentives for enterprises investing in developing physical culture and sports.

"We can also think about this [the introduction of tax incentives, including profit tax deductions]," Putin said.

"But deductions, say, from the profit tax, are actually made at the expense of regional budgets while deductions from VAT are made at the expense of the federal budget. So, this actually means a shortfall of revenues in the budgets of the relevant levels," Putin said.

"It is necessary to define their tasks and goals; establish their powers; the mechanisms of interaction including contacts with agencies, major corporations and associations," the president added.

"Sports, youth and tourism are very close spheres," Putin said. "We believe that we should unite all of them in one sector and empower a certain Russian deputy prime minister to take charge of it."

"The government will come up with definite proposals, including on the staff composition, in the nearest future," Putin added.