Vladimir V. Putin, the president of Russia, acknowledged that anti-doping system in Russia has failed. The Russian President however refuted allegations that the government colluded in widespread cheating among athletes.
The Russian doping scandal resulted in multiple sanctions with the track and field athletes of the nation banned from international competition. A big number of Russia's Olympic squad was barred from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Putin remarked he accepts many findings of the WADA independent panel that produced evidence of cheating among coaches, officials, and athletes. The President of Russia also remarked the most important thing is that we heed the demands of the independent commission despite its drawbacks, because we need to admit that some cases of doping have really been detected, as doping is completely unacceptable. Putin also commented that this means that the Russian anti-doping system has failed, and this is our fault. Putin also said there has never been any institutional conspiracy to conceal positive doping tests in Russia and there never will be and also remarked doping will only be fought against.
The statement of Putin came in praise from the World Anti-Doping Agency. Sir Craig Reedie, the agency’s president remarked WADA is encouraged by this sign of progress from the highest political levels in Russia today. Reedie added this public admission by Russian President Vladimir Putin that their ‘anti-doping system has failed’ is an important step in the right direction. In a statement, Reedie said the World Anti-Doping Agency, UK Anti-Doping, and others since November 2015 have been working hard in supporting Russia's efforts to rebuild a credible anti-doping system.
WADA director general Olivier Niggli said he hopes the statement of Putin would allow the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to follow the roadmap set out for it to return to compliance with the WADA code. Niggli added RUSADA must effectively demonstrate that its processes are truly autonomous, independent from outside interference and properly resourced for the task of protecting clean athletes both in Russia and abroad. The WADA director general also commented that Russian sport will be able to redeem itself in the eyes of clean athletes and other stakeholders worldwide only once RUSADA, and its governing structures, has successfully demonstrated that it can achieve such independence.
In another development, President of Athletics' governing body said Russian authorities have "grasped the enormity of the challenge" as they fight doping in Russia. IAAF president Lord Coe also said the tough decision we made is starting to bear fruit. Coe also commented that there is a real possibility that Russia could be reinstated to international athletics, as expected, in November, after the World Championships in London in August. The IAAF President said the new federation is populated by people who he does genuinely think have grasped the enormity of this challenge. Coe also said we need to make sure that we continue to do everything we can to get clean Russian athletes back into the international fold and further added that that was always the task once the federation had been suspended.
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