MOSCOW, November 10 – Russia’s sports minister said Monday that the country will follow recommendations by international sporting bodies, after a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission alleged widespread doping and corruption in Russian athletics.
“If international bodies such as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) or WADA make any recommendations on the basis of the report by the WADA commission, we will certainly fulfil them,” Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told Interfax news agency.
In a long-awaited report published Monday, the WADA commission called on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to suspend the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF).
The report also made 14 recommendations to Russian government authorities, in part aimed at improving the independence of its national anti-doping agency and the practices of the sports ministry.
Mutko insisted that the WADA-led commission does not have the power to suspend its athletics federation and that Russian authorities would consider the report’s findings.
“There is no need to get confused, the commission does not have the right to suspend anyone,” Vitaly Mutko told RIA Novosti news agency.
Vadim Zelichenok, ARAF acting president, told RIA Novosti that the commission’s demand was “against the rules” of the IAAF and that Russia should have been “given the chance to defend ourselves”.
Zelichenok added that the federation would ask for an extension of the one-week deadline set by the IAAF by which it would have to respond to the report.
Artem Patsev, an ARAF lawyer, said that the accusations issued by the WADA commission looked like a “political” order and that there was no “real evidence.”
“If they had serious reasons for the suspension, it would be already done,” he told RIA Novosti.
The managing director of the Russian anti-doping agency, Nikita Kamaev, told Russian television that the agency was conducting its own investigation into the allegations.