Date
18 January 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to sports officials in Sochi on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to sports officials in Sochi on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Putin orders investigation amid doping scandal

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation into claims the country’s athletes have been part of a systematic doping program.

Putin was speaking for the first time since a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission alleged that Russian athletes had been taking performance-enhancing substances with the involvement of state sports officials.

He said he wanted “professional cooperation” with anti-doping bodies, and that “the battle must be open”, BBC News reported.

“A sporting contest is only interesting when it is honest,” Putin added.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko had earlier said Britain’s anti-doping system had “zero value” and was “even worse” than Russia’s.

The UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport has dismissed the allegation.

Putin said someone must take responsibility should the WADA allegations prove true.

“I ask the minister of sport and all our colleagues who are linked in one way or another with sport to pay this issue the greatest possible attention,” he said, before a meeting with sports officials in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

“It is essential that we conduct our own internal investigation and — I want to underline — provide the most open professional cooperation with international anti-doping structures.”

Lord Coe, president of athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, has told the Russian athletics federation to respond to WADA’s report by Friday.

The report’s author, Dick Pound, recommended Russian athletes be suspended from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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