26 October 2016

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The Guardian: Russia orchestrated state-sponsored doping cover-up, says WADA report

A devastating and damning report into Russian sport has found that the country's government, security services and sporting authorities colluded to hide widespread doping across "a vast majority" of winter and summer sports, according to The Guardian.

Wada can recommend sanctions to the IOC / Photo from NY Daily News
WADA can recommend sanctions to the IOC / Photo from NY Daily News

The International Olympic Committee has promised it will not hesitate to take "toughest sanctions available" against those implicated, The Guardian wrote.

The review, led by the highly respected Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, found widespread state action to hide cheating among Russian athletes in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, as well as a comprehensive cover up of doping during the World Championships in Moscow and the World University Games in Kazan in 2013 and the Winter Olympics in Sochi a year later.

WADA says meldonium in 49 out of 52 adverse tests on Russian athletesThe IOC president Thomas Bach called the McLaren report "a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sports and on the Olympic Games". The IOC's executive board will meet via conference call on Tuesday to make initial decisions on possible sanctions for the Rio Games.

McLaren also confirmed the staggering allegations made by Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Moscow laboratory between 2005 and 2015, that steroid-tainted urine samples were substituted with clean ones in Sochi with the help of Russia's intelligence and anti-doping officials to enable athletes to pass doping tests.

However, McLaren refused to say whether his findings should lead to Russia being banned from the Olympics in Rio which begin next month. "My mandate was to establish facts not to make recommendations," he said. "It is for others to take and absorb and act upon my report."

WADA does not have the authority to directly ban a country from the Olympics, but they can recommend sanctions to the IOC.

McLaren admitted that his report, which had taken 57 days to produce, was only a "thin slice" of what might be out there – yet its findings are hugely damaging for Russia.

The central finding of McLaren's investigation was that Russian athletes "from the vast majority of summer and winter Olympic sports" had benefited from what he called "the Disappearing Positive Methodology" which had become state policy after the country's poor medal count during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

The report found that all organs of the state were involved, including the Russian sports ministry, the Russian security service the FSB, and the Centre of Sports Preparation of National Teams of Russia (CSP). According to McLaren a key figure was the deputy minister of sport, Yuri Nagornykh, who was appointed in 2010 by executive order of the then prime minister, Vladimir Putin. Nagornykh, a member of the Russian Olympic Committee, was advised of every positive analytical finding arising in the Moscow Laboratory from 2011 onwards – and "decided who would benefit from a cover up and who would not be protected".

As McLaren put it: "This is a slice of what is going on, not the total picture. But this included most of the winter and summer sports. And we do know that every single positive was sent up the chain of command and sent back down again."

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