21st November 2017

FIFA confirms Russian doping investigation remains open

The international federation of football associations (FIFA) has confirmed that it is still investigating allegations of doping in Russian football, but has so far been unable to find evidence of anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) beyond two U20 female footballers already sanctioned by the Russian authorities. ‘Investigations remain open’, wrote a FIFA spokesperson in an email. ‘Should there be enough evidence to demonstrate an anti-doping rule violation by any athlete, FIFA would impose the appropriate sanction in line with its clear zero tolerance policy with regards to doping in football’.

‘It should be stressed that sanctions cannot be imposed based on mere suspicions or limited facts’, continued the spokesperson. ‘As stated by WADA “there simply may not be sufficient evidence required to sanction, with potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations, some of the individual athletes identified in the Report”.’

FIFA said it could not provide any details about whether it is also investigating allegations that a separate sample-swapping system was in operation within Russian football. Following an investigation by ARD in June (video below), Richard McLaren conceded that it appeared that a separate system was in operation within Russian football than the one he identified in his Independent Person (IP) Reports for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

ARD’s investigation alleged that on 5 June 2015, notification was sent that sample 3878295 involved an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for dexamethasone involving a current Russian national team footballer. Dexamethasone is a glucocorticoid, and as such is only prohibited in competition ‘when administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular, or rectal routes’ under Section S9 of WADA’s Prohibited List. ARD alleges that a discussion took place on how the footballer’s urine could be swapped for ‘clean’ urine, which McLaren said “raises suspicion” that there is a separate clean bank of urine that exists outside of those already identified by WADA investigations.

In ARD’s video, McLaren also reveals that 155 samples relating to Russian footballers have been seized by WADA, in addition to the 30 samples referred to in the documents unearthed by ARD. The documents mention Aleksey Velikodny, an employee of Russia’s State Sports Training Centre who features in 29 documents within the IP Reports’ Evidential Disclosure Package (EDP). Most of these documents involve discussions with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, former Director of the Moscow Laboratory, about how to deal with AAFs.

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