Russian authorities oversaw a systematic doping program for its track-and-field athletes, the World Anti- Doping Agency commission said Monday in a report that threatens Russia’s participation in the Olympics and other competitions.
Russia’s Federal Security Service directly interfered with a Moscow laboratory set up to test for doping, the report alleged, and implicated coaches, athletes and doctors in efforts to conceal the practice.
After the report’s publication, Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, called on his organization to consider sanctions against Russia. On Sunday, French prosecutors announced an investigation of former IAAF President Lamine Diack on suspicion of accepting bribes from the Russian athletics federation in exchange for covering up positive doping tests, The New York Times reported.
Speaking Monday at a press conference in Geneva, WADA commission leader Dick Pound recommended that ARAF be banned from the sport. Experts told reporters that the commission’s investigation into the role of the IAAF was ongoing, and that their findings would be made public later this year.
The report noted a “deeply rooted culture” of state-sponsored cheating within Russian athletics, with experts alleging that Russian authorities were complicit in doping and that the government spied on and intimidated a Moscow-based anti-doping lab.
According to the report, the laboratory destroyed some 1,400 blood samples, probably to cover up positive drug results. Pound said it was unimaginable that Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko was unaware of these operations, and implied the minister was “complicit” in the scandal.
Interpol will coordinate an investigation into corruption surrounding the alleged doping cover-up, it said in an emailed statement Monday.
“We will do whatever it takes to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust in our sport,” Coe said in a statement. “The IAAF will continue to offer the police authorities our full co- operation into their ongoing investigation.”
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said WADA only made recommendations, which Russia will reply to later, and has no right to sideline athletes or coaches, RIA Novosti reported.
Russian athletics has long been dogged by doping charges, with several race walkers sanctioned earlier this year after IAAF found “aggravating circumstances” in their blood tests.