POSTED: July 6th 2016

Olympics: Russian Minister Mutko pledges the state is behind fair sport

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko is also Chairman of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia © Getty Images
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko is also Chairman of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia © Getty Images

Richard McLaren of WADA (left) is set to deliver his findings on the Sochi 2014 allegations on July 15th © Getty Images
Richard McLaren of WADA (left) is set to deliver his findings on the Sochi 2014 allegations on July 15th © Getty Images

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Russia's Minister of Sport, Vitaly Mutko, has written Sir Craig Reedie, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), to reaffirm that the country is dedicated to the fight against doping and open to collaboration.  

WADA is set to reveal the McLaren report about allegations of a Sochi 2014 doping cover up on July 15th following the allegations made public by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory.

Mutko's plea letter noted that a "significant amount of work conducted by the Ministry of Sports on behalf of the Russian State and asked for further cooperation with WADA in order to effectively eradicate doping in sport".

The letter reads: "We have created a strong regulatory framework, we have opened borders, have built the laboratory and we have established an independent anti-doping agency "RUSADA".

"All of this would be impossible without the support of the State. Fighting for fair sport, free of doping - a common cause to us both - would not be feasible without us taking these strong measures."

"During 2015, the Independent WADA Commission conducted a full investigation into the all-Russian Athletics Federation, RUSADA, the Moscow Laboratory and the Ministry of Sports. The results revealed a number of serious breaches of WADA's standards in our anti-doping services. We acted immediately to address these breaches. Understanding that the Laboratory and RUSADA report directly to WADA and their activity is carried out in accordance with international standards, breaking of which would make an anti-doping program inefficient, we entirely supported all recommendations of WADA in the reformation of anti-doping system."

·         "The Commission recognized Mr. Rodchenkov as a key player who developed a system of handling the samples and I followed the recommendations of WADA and immediately dismissed him.

·         "In accordance with the recommendations of WADA, we completely changed the leadership of RUSADA.

·         "In cooperation with WADA, we approved the "road map", under which the entire doping control system is carried out by our foreign partners. The test planning of Russian athletes is now fully carried out by the UK's anti-doping organization (UKAD); samples are taken by foreign commercial organizations; the analysis takes place in WADA accredited laboratories. Key positions in RUSADA belong to the foreign experts of WADA, who guarantee full independent doping control."

·         "We are ready to work with you to build a transparent structure which makes it impossible to violate even in theory the international standards of WADA by the staff of RUSADA and the Laboratory."

"All the above measures are supported by the Russian State, they indicate our full openness and desire to purify sport from doping and restore confidence in Russian Anti-Doping policy."

 "We understand that our problems with doping have deep roots in the past and cannot be eradicated in a short period of time. Cultural change takes decades and sadly, we will continue to be facing some individuals who are determined to break the rules and regulations, to secure unfair wins and to seek personal enrichment. However, it is a personal subjective factor, which should not affect the sport in general, clean athletes, the anti-doping policy of the State carried out in accordance with the UNESCO Convention."

"I am open to a dialogue and implementation of further recommendations of WADA," the Minister concluded.

And ending the Minister emphasized that Russia is working for a 'cultural change' and that the guilty should be held accountable yet the innocent should not be punished.

The impact and gravity of the McLaren report findings will impact the path forward for Russian sports.

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · Vitaly Mutko · WADA · doping

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