The Kremlin will consider doping abuse accusations against Russian athletes as slander
until it gets proofs to the contrary, according to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “The team is systematically getting ready for the Olympic teams. True, campaigns of slander do take place, but they don’t fan tensions,” Peskov said, when asked if another portion of groundless allegations about doping abuse increased the risks for Russian athletes.
Peskov insisted that Russia was categorically against the use of doping in sports. “At the same time this does not mean that we are ready to accept some groundless statements or charges before we hear any sensible proof or confirmations of this slander,” Peskov said. “We will be regarding this as the absolute calumny.”
According to the TASS news service, Peskov recalled that “The Russian president had sent an absolutely clear message to the effect the use of any doping in sports is absolutely unacceptable for us. Russia is categorically against this and it unconditionally condemns the use of doping there where it has been proven. We are categorically against the attempts to use to exposed cases of doping abuse to cast a shadow on our athletes who participate in sports competitions in a fair way.”
He also pointed to the fact that “the president and the sports minister had repeatedly stated they were participating in anti-doping activities on the basis of very tight interaction with the corresponding international structures.” Peskov emphasized Putin’s statement in favor of very tight cooperation with foreign partners in anti-doping agencies to investigate all doping abuse suspicion.
According to Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, the German TV broadcaster ARD’s latest film about doping in sports is part of a massive attack against Russia. “It can be seen not just in the German media. It’s a targeted attack against Russia, calm and well-organized. Rodchenkov works for the people that have given him refuge,” Mutko said. “We don’t know what he has gathered since 2005. He is still to retrieve it.”
Mutko claimed that he personally is the main target of allegations made by former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov. “I am his [Rodchenkov’s] target,” he told reporters. “He hates me in all his interviews. My advisor Natalia Zhelanova drew attention to all these things. I fired him,” Mutko said.
The latest film about doping abuse in Russian sports, aired last night, claims that Mutko in 2014 concealed information an anonymous player of the Krasnodar football club had tested positive for a prohibited substance. The informer shared with the TV channel correspondence between the Sports Ministry and the anti-doping laboratory regarding a football player who had proved to have used hexarelin (growth hormone), but was not punished for that. The film showed a page from that correspondence where all crucial information, including the player’s name was deleted. The ARD investigative journalist
then remarked that the initials V.L. mentioned in the correspondence were the first letters of Mutko’s name and patronymic. On that basis, he made the conclusion doping abuse in Russia was being covered up at the government level.
“Our investigators may find out many such things. More charges can follow each day. Calm work should proceed here. Pressures on and concerns over our sports are unprecedented,” Mutko said.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.