The Latest: Mutko says Russia will resort to legal action
The Latest on the Russian doping report (all times local): — 6:30 p.m. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko says Russia will resort to legal action in response to allegations of institutionalized doping. Mutko, who was sports minister for the 2012 and 2014 Olympics, the main period covered by the WADA report, tells the Tass state news agency “now we need to calmly move into the legal arena, which is what will be done.” It is not immediately clear what course any legal action might take. Mutko also argues it would not have been possible for Russia to try to cover up doping on such a large scale at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, saying that because athletes were also tested at competitions outside Russia, “it was simply not realistic in Sochi to do what they are accusing us of.” 5:35 p.m. Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, calls the latest revelations from the McLaren report “another staggering example of how the Olympic movement has been corrupted and clean athletes robbed by Russia’s state-supported doping system.” Tygart is calling on the IOC to suspend Russia’s Olympic committee until it is deemed code compliant. He also says no international sporting events should be held in Russia until the country’s anti-doping program becomes code compliant and all those who participated in the corruption are held accountable. 5 p.m. UEFA says Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has begun the process of a FIFA integrity check to be an election candidate in April. Mutko has been elected by European soccer leaders since 2009 to represent them on FIFA’s ruling committee. Now, Mutko is seeking re-election amid widespread evidence detailed by Canadian investigator Richard McLaren that he oversaw a state-backed doping program as sports minister. In July, the World Anti-Doping Agency called on the FIFA ethics committee to investigate Mutko based on McLaren’s interim report. UEFA says Mutko is among five applicants for four vacant seats in an April 5 election of 55 European member federations. Mutko and his four rivals must pass an eligibility check by a FIFA panel to be formally accepted as candidates. Mutko also chairs the 2018 World Cup organizing committee. 4:35 p.m. A veteran Olympic official nominated by Russian President Vladimir Putin to lead the country’s anti-doping fight says Richard McLaren’s latest report is out of date. Vitaly Smirnov, who was picked by Putin to run Russia’s anti-doping commission, says McLaren’s report into systematic doping doesn’t pay enough attention to reforms which have been made since the scandal began and “it’s possible even to say that the McLaren report is out of date.” Smirnov adds that “since the time that is under discussion, Russia has changed greatly and made serious steps toward creating the most effective system in the world for fighting the evil of doping.” The McLaren report focuses largely on the periods leading up to the 2012 Olympics in London and 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 4:30 p.m. IOC President Thomas Bach says Richard McLaren’s latest report on Russian doping “demonstrates a fundamental attack on the integrity of sport.” Bach says he believes any athlete or official involved in “such a sophisticated manipulation system” should be banned from the Olympics for life. He says the IOC, in cooperation with McLaren, will review all samples from Russian athletes who competed at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. In addition, Bach says he extended the mandate of an IOC disciplinary commission to test samples of all Russian athletes who competed at the 2012 London Games. A separate IOC commission is looking into the system that organized the doping manipulation. 3:32 p.m. The head of Denmark’s anti-doping agency says Russia should be excluded from attending and organizing international competition “like the football World Cup” in 2018. Michael Ask of Anti-Doping Denmark says that if Russia “isn’t willing to change (its ways), then they have no place in the world of sports.” Niels Nygaard, president of the Danish sports confederation, says “clear rules for when and how whole organizations can be sanctioned” are needed to avoid “a situation like the one leading up to the Rio Games.” Before the Olympics, WADA called for Russia’s exclusion after investigator Richard McLaren released his first report into allegations of state-sponsored cheating and cover-ups in Russia. The IOC rejected the call, instead allowing international sports federations to decide which Russian athletes could compete. 3:30 p.m. The IOC will retest more than 250 doping samples from Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and examine all Russian samples from the 2012 London Olympics. The IOC made the announcement Friday following the release of Richard McLaren’s latest report detailing systematic doping in Russia. The IOC says the findings “show that there was a fundamental attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and on sport in general.” The International Olympic Committee has two separate commissions that will study McLaren’s findings and prepare “the appropriate sanctions and measures.” The IOC will reanalyze all 254 urine samples collected from Russians athletes in Sochi. All 63 blood samples have already been retested and they came back negative. The IOC says it will also examine all samples collected from Russian athletes in London. Some IOC retests have already been done, with 11 Russian athletes sanctioned. 2:30 p.m. The Russian Sports Ministry has denied that the country had any state-sponsored doping system. The ministry says it will examine a report into Russian doping before commenting in detail but that it insists on “the absence of a state program of support for doping sport” and “continues to fight doping with a position of zero tolerance.” World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren accused then-Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko of allowing a controlled state-backed doping scheme to be developed with his “leadership and knowledge” ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Mutko has since been promoted to Deputy Prime Minister, though his brief still includes sport, while the new sports minister is Pavel Kolobkov, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing. 2:05 p.m. The vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee says he is “looking positively” at the prospect of the country being allowed to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics. World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren published a report Friday citing evidence that doping samples from 12 Russian medalists at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi were tampered with. Stanislav Pozdnyakov tells Russian state news agency R-Sport that the report contains “nothing new” and that Russian athletes “should train calmly for (the 2018 Olympics in) Pyeongchang together with their coaches,” adding that “I am looking positively at this prospect.” Pozdnyakov, a four-time Olympic gold medal fencer, is also head of fencing’s European governing body. 2 p.m. The next step in the Russian doping scandal is that dossiers on more than 1,000 athletes implicated in cover-ups will be handed to top sports officials for further disciplinary action. The World Anti-Doping Agency says investigator Richard McLaren and his team are compiling dossiers for each of the athletes referred to in McLaren’s report by code names alone. WADA says that “starting today,” it will pass dossiers identifying those athletes to the relevant international federations governing the sports in which those athletes compete. The federations will then decide “whether or not there are sufficient elements to pursue (doping disciplinary cases) or, whether further investigations are required.” Medal winners the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are among those who could face potential disciplinary actions. 1:35 p.m. The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency says Richard McLaren’s report into Russian doping shows “institutionalized manipulation and cover up of the doping control process” in the country. WADA president Craig Reedie says in a statement that the agency is grateful to McLaren for the report, adding that it is “alarming to read that 1,000 Russian athletes … can be identified as being involved in, or benefiting from, manipulations to conceal positive doping tests.” WADA says it will continue working to reinstate the Russian anti-doping agency, which was suspended from carrying out tests last year after earlier accusations its staff covered up failed drug tests and colluded with athletes to arrange times for supposedly no-notice tests. However, WADA director general Oliver Niggli says there “remain a number of challenges that must be addressed” before the agency can be reinstated. 1 p.m. The International Ski Federation says it will “act decisively” and with zero tolerance against doping after studying the McLaren report. World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren says Russia’s state-backed doping program corrupted the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where the home team won medals in cross-country skiing, snowboarding and freestyle skiing. FIS, whose president Gian Franco Kasper is an IOC executive board member, says it will “coordinate with the IOC … and WADA, in order to address each organization’s next steps.” 12:40 p.m. The International Paralympic Committee says a report detailing mass cover-ups of doping by Russian officials is “unprecedented and astonishing.” The IPC, which barred Russia from competing in this year’s Paralympics over earlier doping allegations, says World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren’s findings “strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport.” McLaren’s report says that when Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, six Paralympic athletes had samples swapped or manipulated. Those athletes went on to win 21 medals. The IPC says its taskforce, headed by a former UK Anti-Doping chief executive, will work with the Russian Paralympic Committee to fix “the broken and compromised anti-doping system in Russia.” 12:35 p.m. The IAAF says it is retesting all Russian samples it has stored since the 2007 world championships, and has already found three positive doping tests from that year’s event in Osaka, Japan. Track’s governing body says more results are due next week from retesting of Russians who competed at the 2011 worlds in Daegu, South Korea. Doping investigator Richard McLaren says Russia operated a state-backed cheating system at the 2013 worlds in Moscow. McLaren says in his report he referred the cases of 33 Russian athletes to the IAAF. The IAAF says 53 percent of the elite athletes whose cases were shared by McLaren “have already been sanctioned or are currently undergoing disciplinary proceedings.” 12:05 p.m. A World Anti-Doping Agency investigation says Russia, backed by the government, corrupted the 2012 London Olympics on an “unprecedented scale.” Releasing a new report into systematic Russian doping, investigator Richard McLaren says “this corruption involved the on-going use of prohibited substances, washout testing and false reporting.” No Russian athlete tested positive for a prohibited substance at the London Games as the country collected 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze medals. But McLaren says “the Russian Olympic team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale, the extent of which will probably never be fully established. This corruption involved the ongoing use of prohibited substances, washout testing and false reporting.” According to McLaren, “the ministry of sport was working to discipline athletes in advance of the London Games into taking the cocktail of steroids … in order to beat the detection thresholds at the London lab.” 11:25 a.m. A new report into systematic Russian doping has found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes from summer and winter sports were involved in or benefited from an organized conspiracy over a four-year period. World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren released the second part of his report into allegations of state-sponsored doping, particularly involving the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The findings confirmed and expanded on much of the evidence contained in the Canadian law professor’s first report issued in July. Among the new specifics, the report found evidence of tampering of doping samples involving 12 Russian medalists in Sochi. The number includes athletes who won four gold medals. The names were not given. 10:55 a.m. Pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva says she will oppose blanket bans of Russian athletes after being named the head of the suspended Russian anti-doping agency’s new supervisory board. Isinbayeva was appointed chair of the 10-person board, which also includes a senior Russian Sports Ministry official, on Wednesday without consultation with the World Anti-Doping Agency. Isinbayeva, who missed this year’s Olympics when the Russian track and field team was banned, says “of course it’s in my interests not to allow the situation which I ended up in, so that our athletes from our country are treated the same as everyone else.” The agency was suspended last year over cover-up allegations and requires WADA certification to start carrying out doping tests again. 10 a.m. The Olympic world is bracing for more evidence of systematic Russian doping. World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren is releasing his latest report on Friday into allegations of state-sponsored cheating and cover-ups in Russia. The report is expected to focus on evidence of a doping conspiracy centered on the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, including details of the manipulation of doping samples. McLaren’s first report, issued in July, led WADA to call for Russia’s exclusion from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The IOC rejected the call, instead allowing international sports federations to decide which Russian athletes could compete. McLaren’s new report will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee, which has two separate commissions looking into the allegations. The IOC has said it will impose stiff sanctions on any athletes and officials implicated in doping.
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