MOSCOW , March 7 – Russia’s sports minister on Monday shuffled off blame over allegations in a German documentary that the country is still violating strict anti-doping criteria as it struggles to overturn a ban before the Rio Olympics.
“The imposition of sanctions on specific people and checking on their application is the job of the relevant anti-doping agencies, not the state,” the minister, Vitaly Mutko, said in a statement.
“To talk about the responsibility of the state in the case of every individual violation is impossible,” the statement said.
“If people are guilty then they will be punished in accordance with the rules.”
Russian athletes face an uphill battle to be allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics from August 5-21 after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission alleged widespread corruption and doping in the country’s athletics.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and WADA outlined a strict reinstatement criteria, including severing ties with Russian athletics officials, officers or staff with any past involvement in doping.
But a 30-minute documentary by German broadcaster ARD/WDR screened on Sunday, gives new evidence of Russian athletes and coaches violating the strict IAAF and WADA regulations.
According to the German documentary, a suspended coach has been identified continuing to work with athletes in an isolated Russian province, while another named trainer is still distributing doping substances.
The ARD/WDR team claim to have proof Russian athletes were told when they would be drugs tested.
There is an audio conversation, which is claimed to be between Anna Antselovich, the new head of Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA), and an athlete, who is being warned when a drugs test would take place.
Antselovich replaced ex-RUSADA boss Nikita Kamayev, who resigned last year over the allegations and died suddenly of a heart attack in February aged just 52.
Footage is also shown which is believed to be of a senior coach, who is currently suspended because of doping allegations, as he continues to coach a group of athletes in the far-flung province of Gubkin, central Russia.
And the film-makers claim to have evidence of a conversation with another Russian coach, who can provide doping substances for a price.
An IAAF spokesman said the body’s inspection team, chaired by Norwegian doping expert Rune Anderson, will be looking into the evidence provided.