The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the accreditation of a Moscow laboratory used for doping tests.
Head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, Nikita Kamaev, said the lab has now stopped operating following allegations of “systematic doping and corruption.”
Russia has dismissed the accusations, with a Kremlin spokesman labelling them “groundless.”
“Until some evidence is presented… it is difficult to accept these accusations, they are quite groundless,” said Dmitry Peskov.
A report from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) claims to have evidence of large-scale, state-sponsored use of banned performance-enhancing substances.
Kamaev questioned the reliability of the sources used in the WADA-commissioned report because they included sports people who had failed doping tests.
He added that Russia was on the road to cleaning up sport.
Calls to suspend Russian athletes
WADA’s independent commission suggested the Russian athletics federation (ARAF) should be suspended from all competitions.
Australia is among those echoing the call for temporary bans from upcoming events, including next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
The Russian Sports Ministry, meanwhile, says it is ready to cooperate more closely with WADA to eradicate “any” irregularities on the part of the Russian anti-doping watchdog and accredited laboratory.
Casting a shadow over Russian sport
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko agreed with the Kremlin, saying some of the problems listed in the report are unfounded and are casting a shadow over Russian sports as a whole.
“If we find cause to act, based on the Commission’s conclusions, or to make some decisions on behalf of the state or the anti-doping services, we will. But we can’t allow ourselves to cast a shadow over the other sportsmen who are training hard and win the medals honestly, we can’t accept this. And here we see an attempt to cast the shadow over Russian sport as a whole.”
He said half of the issues relating to the Moscow anti-doping laboratory can be rectified.
“Within the course of six months, about 30 WADA experts were studying the work of the laboratory, disintegrating it up to a single molecule,” said Mutko.“Eventually they ruled that its (the laboratory’s) work complies with WADA requirements.
“Afterwards, we hosted outstanding Olympic Games (2014),” the minister added. “We received not just Grade A, but Grade A++ for the work of the laboratory. Then we held the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan (July 24-August 9, 2015) and once again received the highest possible grade.”
“I have no clue what had happened over the past six months, but there are problems with the laboratory once more. Half of these problems can be rectified, if necessary, the other half has no proof except some allegations. There are no facts.”