RUSADA ready to ‘fully support’ Russian football drug-testing investigation

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) say it will ‘fully support’ an investigation into the procedure of drug testing in the Russian Premier League (RPL) instigated by the country’s football union.

On Thursday, The Russian Football Union (RFU) announced RFU director general Alexander Alayev would carry out an investigation into doping control procedures in the RPL from 2012-2015. The information is located on the Moscow laboratory database.

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© Alexander Vilf

“RUSADA will show full support to the Russian Football Union in its investigation into results of in-competition doping tests in the RPL,” the agency’s deputy director general, Margarita Pakhnotskaya said, TASS reported.

“We are ready to work alongside FIFA, if need be. RUSADA will take a zero-tolerance approach to violations of anti-doping laws, should they occur, especially as there is no statute of limitation,” she added.

An electronic file from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, containing the complete record of doping tests from the period January 2012 to August 2015, remains in the possession of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Last week, FIFA confirmed in a statement that it had received the information from WADA on Russian footballers from the Moscow Lab following a meeting between the two organisations. Football’s world governing body also said they expect to receive additional data from WADA in the coming months.

“FIFA will continue its investigation in close cooperation with WADA in all possible directions. If there is enough evidence of violations of anti-doping laws of any athlete, FIFA will apply sanctions to them,” a FIFA statement read.

Despite reports surfacing that the entire 23-man Russian squad at the 2014 Brazil World Cup were included as “people of interest” in doping violations, along with another 11 players, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said each Russian player who took part in the tournament had produced a negative doping result.

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“All these tests, including, in addition, not made in Russia, all done in WADA laboratory tests, so far have given negative results. There can be no sanctions. Some people will want sanctions, but if there are no negative results, how can there be?” Infantino said.

World Cup 2018 chair and Russian Football Union (RFU) chief Vitaly Mutko was recently handed a lifetime ban from the Olympics by the IOC. While Mutko will have a key role in running next year’s World Cup, FIFA insisted the ban would not affect preparations for the tournament.

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