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Demanding to recognize McLaren’s findings means holding Russian sports hostage — minister

The conclusions concern an alleged state-sponsored doping system in Russia

MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. Demanding of Moscow to recognize the conclusions made by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission headed by Richard McLaren, which concern an alleged state-sponsored doping system in Russia, means holding the Russian sports hostage, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said in an interview with TASS.

In December 2016, McLaren presented the final results of his Russia-related investigation. WADA expects Moscow to publicly recognize his conclusions, otherwise refusing to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) and Russia’s Paralympic Committee (RPC).

"When 28 of our athletes were cleared [after receiving life Olympic bans from the International Olympic Committee - TASS], the decision was made by an independent court, it was a meaningful judicial process, involving witnesses, our athletes, experts and testimonies provided by McLaren and [whistleblower Grigory] Rodchenkov. The decision speaks for itself, they have been cleared by professional judges," the Russian sports minister pointed out.

"If they demand that we recognize the McLaren report, it means there is no evidence and demands are taking the place of real evidence. Substitution of notions is happening, while our sports remains hostage. They should not take our willingness to cooperate and work together constructively as weakness," Kolobkov added.