Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Richard McLaren has denied that he has changed his position regarding who directed doping in Russia, after Vitaly Smirnov told TASS that McLaren had dropped his accusations that the government was behind the programme at an October 2016 meeting in Zurich. ‘Mr. Smirnov explained that in Russia, the term “State-sponsored” implicated Vladimir Putin and the Russian political leadership’, explained McLaren in an emailed statement. ‘Since Professor McLaren’s evidence stopped short at the Minister of Sport and Deputy Minister, he accepted – even though he did not necessarily agree with the Russian interpretation – to modify his characterisation of the Russian doping scheme to an “institutional systematic evasion of doping control procedures”. Professor McLaren explained the change upon the publication of his second report in December 2016 and emphasized that there was no change to the facts of the reports or conclusions.’
McLaren was a member of the Independent Commission (IC) that compiled two reports for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on systemic doping, as well as being the lead author of the two Independent Person (IP) Reports examining systemic Russian doping. Vitaly Smirnov is Chair of Russia’s Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission (IPADC), and is Honorary President of the Russian Olympic Committee (OCD). “There has never been State-sponsored doping in Russia”, Smirnov told WADA’s Foundation Board meeting in Glasgow last year.
In the first IP Report, published in July 2016, McLaren referred to the Russian doping programme outlined as a ‘State-dictated system’. In the second IP Report, published in December 2016, he referred to ‘Institutionalised doping’. As reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative, McLaren clarified that he had redefined his terminology at the WADA Symposium in March this year.
McLaren’s evidence directly implicated Russia’s former Minister for Sport, Vitaly Mutko, as covering up the positive test of a Russian footballer. Mutko has since been promoted to Deputy Prime Minister. He is also President of the Football Union of Russia (FUR) and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
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