Russia’s deputy prime minister, responding to calls for the nation’s sports teams to be excluded from all international competitions because of doping, said yesterday that the country is “among the cleanest in the world.”
Following a summit this week, leaders from 19 national anti-doping organizations also called for Russia to be stripped of the right to host major sports events, a measure that would affect next year’s World Cup.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who oversees sports policy in the country, accused the group of meddling in politics.
“The people who should be analyzing urine have started pressuring the people who take political decisions,” Mutko said in comments to Russian news agency R- Sport. “Russian sports are among the cleanest in the world.”
The British anti-doping agency is in charge of collecting samples in Russia, and the number of positive tests in the country dropped last year. The Russian anti-doping agency remains suspended following allegations of corruption.
The call for extra sports sanctions on Russia follows a report accusing Russia of operating a wide-ranging doping cover-up that included illicit sample swaps at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Russian government strongly denies ever having supported performance-enhancing drug use. MDT/AP