‘Russian doping scandals won’t impact 2018 World Cup preparations’

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Mexico City, May 12 (IANS) Doping scandals shaking Russian sports in recent times will have no impact on 2018 football World Cup and 2017 Confederations Cup preparations, the director general of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Russia-2018 Alexei Sorokin has said.

“We have admitted that this problem does exist. It is a big challenge we are facing and will have to deal with. Our country is taking measures to rebuild reputation of RUSADA (The Russian Anti-Doping Agency),” he said on Wednesday, reports Tass.

“I am not an expert in such matters. But I don’t think it might have any impact of the preparations for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. We are confidents FIFA will conduct a right anti-doping policy and we will offer all necessary assistance,” he added.

The doping scandal with Russian athletes erupted in December 2014 after the German TV Channel ARD aired a documentary entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case).

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The documentary said that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

After the documentary was aired by the German TV channel, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) set up a commission to investigate the case.

The WADA independent commission published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activities of the all-Russian Athletics Federation, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the decision of the agency’s independent commission that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organisation.

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The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said at its Council meeting in November that a report prepared by the All-Russian Athletics Federation on the struggle against doping was unsatisfactory and decided by a majority of votes to suspend Russia’s membership in the international athletics association.

Russian athletes have been suspended from all athletics competition and hence they may have to skip the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The final decision on that matter will be taken later in May.

A new wave of doping scandals shook Russian sports over the use of the drug Meldonium that was included in the list of preparations banned by WADA from January 1, 2016. The presence of Meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).

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Meldonium is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription.

At least 18 Russian athletes are suspected of taking this substance.

The 2017 Confederations Cup will be held between June 17 and July 2 at four stadiums in Russia and they are Otkritie-Arena in Moscow, Zenit-Arena in St. Petersburg, Fisht in Sochi and Kazan-Arena in Kazan.

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



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