Russia announces reforms in bid to overturn Rio ban

Russia has appointed international experts to assist with anti-doping reforms, the sports ministry said on Wednesday, as the country strives to clean up its act in time for the Rio Olympics.

The country's anti-doping system will be revamped by the end of this year, according to Russia sports minister Vitaly Mutko.   -  AP

Russia has appointed international experts to assist with anti-doping reforms, the sports ministry said on Wednesday, as the country strives to clean up its act in time for the Rio Olympics.

"The experts were nominated by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and will be given full and free access to all anti-doping operations in Russia for as long as necessary," the statement said, adding that the experts would be based full-time in Moscow starting at the end of April.

"Their role will be to ensure the Russian anti-doping system is free of undue interference and is fully independent."

The identity of the experts has not been disclosed. Russia is fighting to overturn a ban imposed on its track and field team by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after a WADA independent commission report found evidence of state-sponsored doping and mass corruption in Russian athletics.

IAAF to meet

The IAAF is expected to make a decision on whether to lift the suspension to permit Russian athletes to participate in Rio at an extraordinary Council meeting next month. The sports ministry pledged that Russian track and field athletes hoping to compete in Rio will "undergo a minimum of three independent, externally administered anti-doping controls before the Olympic Games" that will be carried out by the IAAF.

These tests will be carried out in addition to the existing anti-doping procedures, the statement said. Moscow has vowed to revamp its anti-doping programme in time for its track and field athletes to compete in Rio.

Speaking on Wednesday at a joint press conference with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said that the country's anti-doping system would be revamped "by the end of the year".

WADA last week revoked the accreditation of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, which had also been suspended over the WADA report that found its director, Grigory Rodchenkov, had "authorized the disposal of 1,417 samples".

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