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Over 500 doping samples of Russian footballers collected since October

An official says all tests proved to be negative for the presence of banned performance enhancing drugs

MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. Experts from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) collected some 500 urine and blood samples from Russian football players and all tests proved to be negative for the presence of banned performance enhancing drugs, a Russian football official told TASS on Tuesday.

Eduard Bezuglov, the head of the Russian Football Union’s (RFU) Medical Committee, said doping officers from the RUSADA had been actively taking doping samples since October and making the necessary inquiries, which were all answered.

"Since October last year and up to the present day, doping officers from the RUSADA alone collected about 500 urine and blood samples both during the in-and out-the-competition periods," Bezuglov told TASS.

The Russian football official’s statements come less than 90 days before the much-anticipated 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in 11 cities across Russia this summer.

"Doping samples were also collected from five players on the ADAMS list and the athletes were subjected to tests even at night times," he said. "All doping tests proved to be clean and there are no problems whatsoever."

Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren, who headed the WADA Independent Commission, announced last June that Russia had a system to cover up acts of doping abuse in football. According to McLaren, a special bank with clean doping samples was allegedly in place and was used for samples’ substitution.

British weekly The Mail on Sunday came up with a report at that time that FIFA was holding investigations in regard to 34 Russian footballers, including 23 from the country’s national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

In response to all allegations, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that all doping samples of Russian footballers, collected at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, tested negative for banned performance enhancing drugs.

After successfully hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup matches last summer in four Russian cities, namely Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, the country is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 aforementioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.