The United States Justice Department is probing international sports again. The New York Times is reporting that a federal investigation is underway with claims that Russian athletes were using banned substances in the 2014 Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics. American officials want to know if anything illegal took place in the United States. No Russian athletes have been arrested for using drugs, and it is really unclear what the Department of Justice can do even if some athletes did fail a drug test. American authorities will be spending taxpayers’ money to investigate athletes who might be taking banned substances in international sports competitions. For some reason, the Justice Department went after the governing body of soccer or international football. A year ago, in May 2015, charges were filed against more than forty people who were involved with FIFA for corruption. It is unknown what spurred the investigation, but the United States did not win the bidding for the 2022 World Cup of Soccer and there may have been some people in the United States who were upset with FIFA’s decision. It has been alleged that money changed hands ultimately awarding the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
The Justice Department also got involved in the allegations that cyclist Lance Armstrong was using banned substances, but did not pursue the case. Armstrong was ultimately banned by a sports organization decision. The high profile cases against Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds cost taxpayers a lot of money but at the end of the day, the Justice Department was shut out. However, the government wants to keep sports on the up-and-up and convince people that sports is a bona fide competition. Apparently, the government has zeroed in on alleged Russian drug testing deception, and at the end of the day taxpayers will be paying for what sports organizers should be policing.
By Evan Weiner for the Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.