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Putin comments on doping scandal in Russian sports

The Russian leader believes there is "political context" in the doping case

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. Russia should bear partial responsibility for the ongoing doping scandal in national sports since it provided reasons for this scandal to flare up internationally, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"It is obvious for us that this scandal keeps escalating ahead of Russia’s domestic political agenda," Putin said during his annual news conference.

"However, it is partially our own fault, since there were in fact cases of violations of anti-doping regulations (in Russia)," Putin noted. "Such cases of violations were registered in other countries as well, but we see no such politically agitated hype over this issue regarding these countries."

"I have no doubts that there is a political context in our country’s case," Putin stressed.
"Other systematic practices should not be omitted - for instance permission to consume performance enhancing drugs due to health requirements (Therapeutic Use Exemption or TUE)," the president said. "Should we let them participate under the out-of-competition format?"

"I do not want to offend anyone, since they all work hard and do their utmost, but the principles of competitiveness must be always observed," he added.

In July 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set up two separate commissions to probe doping abuse allegations in Russian sports as well as alleged involvement of state officials in manipulations with performance enhancing drugs, particularly at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi.

The first of the two commissions is an Inquiry Commission, chaired by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid. The commission is looking into accusations set out in the McLaren report that alleges the existence of a supposed institutional conspiracy in Russia’s summer and winter sports, in which the country’s state officials were allegedly engaged in.

The second investigative body at the issue is a Disciplinary Commission, chaired by IOC Member Denis Oswald. This commission is tasked to address alleged doping uses and manipulation of samples concerning the Russian athletes, who participated in the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.

The IOC Executive Board announced its decision on December 5 to suspend the entire 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 might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to determine which Russian athletes, will have the right to go to 2018 PyeongChang under the neutral status.

The Executive Board of the IOC also announced last week that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was to reimburse the costs incurred by the IOC for the probes and to contribute to setting up an Independent Testing Authority (ITA), which carries a price tag of $15 million.

The world’s governing Olympic body stated that not only did it ban Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko and ex-Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh from attending all Olympic events in their official capacities, but it also yanked the membership of the ROC and its President Zhukov. A number of additional sanctions against other Russian sports officials followed from the IOC as well.

The upcoming Olympics, which are 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.

Therapeutic Use Exemption

In September 2016, an anonymous group of hackers came up with information on their website about hacking personal medical histories of athletes from the United States and the drugs they were prescribed in recent years, which were on WADA’s restricted list.

The group announced that it hacked the ADAMS database and leaked documents proving that WADA found an official loophole to sanction the use of banned performance enhancing drugs under the TUE system, which was extensively used by US legendary tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, US four-time Olympic Champion in gymnastics Simone Biles, as well as North American women’s basketball player Elena Dolle Donne.

Official sources later confirmed that athletes in question were officially allowed to take banned performance enhancing drugs due to their health restrictions under WADA’s official permission known as the Therapeutic Use Exemption.