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Russia minister denies doping accusations

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

Russia’s sports minister has rejected as “baseless” recent accusations by an anti-doping commission that could see Moscow banned from international athletics.

On Tuesday, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko blasted the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) report, saying it was based on “unsubstantiated facts” and “unknown sources.”

In its 323-page report, WADA accused Russian sportsman of being involved in “systematic doping.” It said Russian anti-doping agencies, such as the RUSADA, the Russian athletics federation, as well as a testing laboratory in Moscow, encourage and help athletes evade detection of doping substances.

WADA claimed that whistleblowers and confidential witnesses had agreed that the unnamed laboratory in Moscow was “involved in the destruction and the cover-up of what would otherwise be positive doping tests.”

Russian laboratories are accused of “intentionally and maliciously” destroying some 1,400 samples taken from athletes.

Mutko said, “It is impossible to hide anything today. All of the data is there in the databases supervised by WADA. Many of them just cannot be forged.” He added that Russia’s doping agencies are currently “independent from the government.”

He further said the agency’s “offensive” action is aimed at casting “a shadow on Russian sports.”

WADA also said the Russian athletics federation should be suspended from all competitions, including the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)’s President Sebastian Coe has warned of possible sanctions by the group’s council if Russia failed to provide a response.

The international police body, Interpol, has also said it will coordinate a worldwide investigation led by France into alleged doping and corruption in athletics.

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