Russia's anti-doping body denies admitting to sports dope conspiracy

Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Director General Anna Antseliovich attends an interview in Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA said on Wednesday it had not admitted to mass doping in the country's sports system and that a report in the New York Times which suggested it had was a distortion of its position.

The U.S. newspaper reported earlier on Wednesday that RUSADA officials had for the first time admitted there had been an organized conspiracy to dope in Russia.

It cited Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of RUSADA, as making the admission in an interview.

"It was an institutional conspiracy," it cited her as saying. She said top officials had not been involved.

That appeared to chime with the final part of the World Anti-Doping Agency's independent report into doping which this month provided evidence of an elaborate doping scheme.

The report found more than 1,000 Russian competitors in more than 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over a period of five years.

But RUSADA said in a statement on Wednesday that Antseliovich's words, as reported in the New York Times, had been "distorted" and "taken out of context."

"We want to underline that RUSADA does not have and could not have the authority to admit or deny such a fact (of an institutional conspiracy)," RUSADA said.

"The Russian Federation's Investigative Committee is looking into the matter (of doping). Every accused sports person has the indisputable right to object to the accusations."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russian authorities had always denied that the Russian state had been involved in doping.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week there were some problems with sports doping in Russia, but that there was no state-sponsored doping system as critics have alleged.

Sports should not be politicized, said Putin.

More than 100 Russian athletes were barred from competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year after the International Olympic Committee set criteria for Russian athletes to meet, including a clean doping past and sufficient testing at international events.


Russia's anti-doping body says did not admit to sports dope conspiracy

Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA said on Wednesday it had not admitted to mass doping in the country's sports system and that a report in the New York Times which suggested it had was a distortion of its position.

The U.S. newspaper reported earlier on Wednesday that RUSADA officials had for the first time admitted there had been an organized conspiracy to dope in Russia.

It cited Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of RUSADA, as making the admission in an interview.

"It was an institutional conspiracy," it cited her as saying. She said top officials had not been involved.

That appeared to chime with the final part of the World Anti-Doping Agency's independent report into doping which this month provided evidence of an elaborate doping scheme.

The report found more than 1,000 Russian competitors in more than 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over a period of five years.

But RUSADA said in a statement on Wednesday that Antseliovich's words, as reported in the New York Times, had been "distorted" and "taken out of context."

"We want to underline that RUSADA does not have and could not have the authority to admit or deny such a fact (of an institutional conspiracy)," RUSADA said.

"The Russian Federation's Investigative Committee is looking into the matter (of doping). Every accused sports person has the indisputable right to object to the accusations."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russian authorities had always denied that the Russian state had been involved in doping.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week there were some problems with sports doping in Russia, but that there was no state-sponsored doping system as critics have alleged.

Sports should not be politicized, said Putin.

More than 100 Russian athletes were barred from competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year after the International Olympic Committee set criteria for Russian athletes to meet, including a clean doping past and sufficient testing at international events.


Russia admits to large-scale sports doping scheme — maybe

With those five words, at least as rendered in English and reported in the New York Times, the Russian anti-doping agency, Rusada, is believed to have dropped its contention that allegations of widespread use among Russia’s international athletes of barred performance-enhancing drugs were unfounded.

The BBC later reported, however, that the purported admission by Rusada’s acting director, Anna Antseliovich, was the result of her words having been “distorted.”

Antseliovich was reported to have said that top Kremlin officials were not involved in the doping operation, which may have involved the participation of as many 1,000 athletes over a multiyear time frame stretching to 2015.

Vitaly Smirnov, a top sports official since the Soviet era appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to reform the anti-doping system, reportedly told the Times that, while he didn’t wish to speak for the responsible parties but as a former minister of sport and a onetime president of Russia’s Olympic committee, “we made a lot of mistakes.”

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