Mutko: Call for ban on Russians in international competitions 'absolutely political'
Vitaly Mutko, the combative Russian deputy prime minister who has led opposition to the perceived demonisation of the country over an alleged ‘state-supported’ doping scandal, today dismissed a call by 19 national anti-doping organisations for “the exclusion of Russian sports organisations at all international competitions.”
The call follows the publication last month of the second part of the independent McLaren report into Russian doping, which alleged an “institutional conspiracy” in which over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in over 30 summer, winter and Paralympic sports (including non-Olympic sports) were involved in, or benefited from, manipulations to conceal positive doping tests between 2011 and 2015.
The NADOs, under the umbrella of the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations, also called for “the removal of all major international competitions, as well a moratorium on the awarding of new competitions to Russia,” and rejected plans, originating with the International Olympic Committee, for the creation of a “new one size fits all, global” independent testing authority.
However, Mutko called iNADO’s proposals “absolutely political,” adding: “Anti-doping organisations are anti-doping organisations, they should control the situation in their country, collect urine, but not interfere with politics.”
Mutko argued that the proposed measures are not justified by the second part of the McLaren report which, he claimed, produced no new evidence, and threatened legal action over the claims, saying: “Today, people whose task is to test urine start pressing on people who make political decisions… The McLaren report does not give any grounds to make such statements… There’s nothing new in it. There is a ‘golden’ line about some sort of a state programme, but there are no facts to back [these claims.] There was not a single fact, there is not and never will be.”
The McLaren report also alleged that the conspiracy involved Russian sports ministry officials, and bodies such as Rusada (the Russian anti-doping agency), the CSP (Centre of Sports Preparation of National Teams of Russia), Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory and the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service). It claimed that Russia’s participation at four major championships was affected: the London 2012 Olympic Games, the 2013 Universiade (held in Kazan, Russia), the 2013 IAAF World Athletics Championships (held in Moscow) and the 2014 winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
However, calling iNADO’s proposal a “deliberate attack on Russian sport aimed at its defamation,” Mutko said: “This is a common trend, that the Russians are to blame. Everybody needs us to be uncompetitive.
“Perhaps we are too gentle. It’s time to take this to the legal field, to go to courts. Exactly to courts, because it is of no use to do this within sports arbitration.”
Pavel Kolobkov, Russia’s sports minister, today also rejected iNADO’s claims, albeit in somewhat more diplomatic language, saying: “We are ready to discuss these issues with the IOC, with WADA… We have a work plan with WADA. I would not pay attention to the statements of some strange leaders.”
The NADOs’ rejection of the concept of a global anti-doping testing authority is likely to be viewed with concern by the IOC and its president Thomas Bach, who has pressed for its creation, in a bid to combat perceived conflicts of interest among the sports organisations that are presently responsible for organising testing of their athletes.
The statement from iNADO said: “Leaders rejected concept of a new one size fits all, global ‘Independent Testing Authority’ controlled by sport - and they considered guidelines for development of independent testing authorities to manage anti-doping responsibilities conducted by International Federations (IFs).”