Russia not to suspend sports minister after WADA report

Moscow, July 19 (IANS) Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was not temporarily suspended from his post since he was not mentioned in the recent WADA report as an actual perpetrator, the Russian presidential spokesman said on Tuesday.

An investigation by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren for WADA on Monday alleged that the Russian Ministry of Sport carried out state-run doping. McLaren’s report said the cover up started in 2010 after the Vancouver Winter Olympics and continued until 2015 after the Sochi Games.

Russia, which had strongly denied any state involvement, is already banned from international athletics by the IAAF, because of doping exposed last year.

“Mutko was not mentioned in WADA’s report as a person behind the wrongdoings, which other people are suspected of,” Tass quoted the presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Mutko is not mentioned as an actual perpetrator.”

Peskov said that the report mentioned as one of the perpetrators Deputy Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh, who had been already temporarily suspended from his post in the connection.

Russian athletes continue preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Peskov said commenting on the possibility of the Games’ boycott.

“Russia is getting ready for the Olympics, the Russian team is getting ready for the Olympics,” Peskov said.

“We are strong supporters of Olympic ideas and members of the Olympic family and do not want such situations to damage the Olympic movement.”

The Kremlin spokesman said Russia expects WADA to present the evidence of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB)’s involvement in the doping scandal, as these facts could be used in the investigation into this case that is underway in the country.

“I don’t know anything about it yet. President (Vladimir) Putin in his yesterday’s statement requested the commission to present the substantial evidence and facts that caused such allegations,” Peskov said.

“This information is necessary, and if it is provided, it will be used in our investigation that has been underway for some time now.”

Asked about the probability of dismissal of other officials, Peskov recalled that both the president and other officials said on Monday “that the Russian side is determined to conduct a thorough investigation into all the allegations”.

“All the necessary investigative actions are underway. I cannot announce their possible results. A thorough investigation is underway”, the president’s press secretary said.

Peskov added that Putin had “many months ago” said that Russia intended to conduct these investigative actions “in close cooperation with international sports organisations”.

Peskov added that using politics for pressure in sports affairs is absolutely inadmissible. The spokesman refused to comment on Kremlin’s expectations on the upcoming statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in regard to the report.

“Russia is confident that involving politics in international sports and using politics as an instrument for pressure in sports affairs is absolutely inadmissible,” Peskov said.

“In his yesterday’s statement, President Putin put emphasis on the danger of seeing international sports in point of fact falling a victim to personal political plots, political confrontation,” he said.

“He (the Russian leader) recalled that in the 1980s, unfortunately, the world already went through this, seeing a mutual boycott of Olympic Games, which, by the way, was later recognised as a mistake,” Peskov noted.



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