Kremlin promises to take action against officials named in WADA report

The report said the sports ministry in Moscow under Vitaly Mutko organised a subterfuge under which tainted urine samples were replaced and kept away from international observers.

In this file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speak during the ice sledge hockey match between Russia and South Korea of the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. On Monday, WADA investigator Richard McLaren confirmed claims of state-run doping in Russia.   -  AP

The Kremlin said it will suspend Russian officials named in a report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that revealed on Monday state-run doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and other major sports.

> READ: WADA wants blanket ban on Russian athletes in Rio

WADA consequently called for all Russian competitors and officials to be banned from the Rio Olympics next month after the investigation by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren.

The report said the sports ministry in Moscow under Vitaly Mutko organised a subterfuge under which tainted urine samples were replaced and kept away from international observers.

His deputy Yury Nagornykh was also mentioned in the report.

"The officials named in the commission's report as acting directly will be temporarily suspended from their posts until the investigation is fully completed," the Kremlin said in a statement.

But it did not hide its distain for the findings or the Russian former doping official whose allegations sparked the probe.

"(To) take a final decision on the responsibility of the relevant officials," the Russian government needs WADA to provide "more complete, objective and fact-based information," the Kremlin said.

Stressing that "doping has no place in sport," it said that the report's findings "are based on the testimony of one person. A person with a scandalous reputation," referring to Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory.

Rodchenkov revealed details of the complex system to evade anti-doping controls used in Sochi after fleeing to the United States.

He is now under criminal investigation in Russia and his sister was convicted of supplying anabolic steroids, the Kremlin said.

"The question arises: can conclusions based exclusively on the testimony of people of this sort be trustworthy and weighty?" it asked.

The Kremlin also criticised a call by the United States anti-doping agency USADA for a blanket ban on Russian participation in Rio that was made ahead of the release of McLaren's report.

"We get the impression that USADA at least had access to the unpublished report and maybe itself set the tone and content," the Kremlin said.

Moscow also condemned what it called a "dangerous" return to political interference in sport, referring to an international boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and the Soviet Union's subsequent boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics.

"Now we are seeing a dangerous recurrence of interference of politics in sport," the Kremlin statement said.

"Yes, the forms of such interference have changed, but the aim is the same as before: to make sport an instrument of geopolitical pressure, to form a negative image of countries and peoples."