Russia was involved in state-sponsored doping: Report

Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said Russia's FSB secret service had backed the doping cover-ups by anti-doping laboratories in Moscow and Sochi under orders from the country's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

WADA investigator Richard McLaren confirmed claims of state-run doping in Russia during the 2014 Sochi Games.   -  AP

Several government bodies, led by the Russian Ministry of Sport, were involved in ‘state sponsored’ doping during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and other events, an independent investigator said on Monday in a report likely to lead to demands for Russia to be completely banned from the Rio Games.

Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said Russia's FSB secret service had backed the doping cover-ups by anti-doping laboratories in Moscow and Sochi under orders from the country's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

"The Moscow laboratory operated, for the protection of doped Russian athletes, within a state-dictated failsafe system," McLaren said.

"The Sochi Laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Winter Olympic Games," he added.

The United States and Canadian anti-doping agency have called for a potential ban of all Russian competitors from the Rio Games, which start August 5, if the McLaren report was damning enough.

"The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athletes' analytical results or sample swapping and the active participation and assistance of the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), CSP (Center of Sports Preparation for Russian athletes) and both Moscow and Sochi laboratories."

The World Anti-Doping Agency had McLaren investigate allegations made by former Russian anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov in a May article in The New York Times.

Rodchenkov, now living in the United States, had told how Russian secret service agents helped the operation to get Russian samples away from international inspectors at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

"I'm unwaveringly confident in our report," McLaren said, noting the two Russian government-backed groups were "directly involved in the state-overseen program."

McLaren said the report was "credible and verifiable" and called Rodchenkov "was a credible and truthful person."

Rodchenkov said Russia's sports ministry was actively involved in doping -- an accusation Russian officials have denied. He said an intricate doping program was "working like a Swiss watch" and helped at least 15 Russian medalists.

Key findings in McLaren report

  • * "The surprise result of the Sochi investigation was the revelation of the extent of state oversight and directed control of the Moscow laboratory in processing, and covering up urine samples of Russian athletes from virtually all sports before and after the Sochi Games.
  • * "The Moscow laboratory operated, for the protection of doped Russian athletes, within a state-dictated failsafe system, described in the report as the Disappearing Positive Methodology."
  • * "The Sochi Laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Games."
  • * "The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete's analytical results or sample swapping, with the active participation and assistance of the FSB (Russian secret service), CSP, and both Moscow and Sochi Laboratories."
  • * "The Moscow laboratory personnel did not have a choice in whether to be involved in the State directed system."
  • * "The State implemented a simple failsafe strategy. If all the operational precautions to promote and permit doping by Russian athletes proved to have been ineffective for whatever reason, the laboratory provided a failsafe mechanism."
  • * "The State had the ability to transform a positive analytical result into a negative one by ordering that the analytical process of the Moscow Laboratory be altered. The Ministry of Sport, RUSADA and the Russian Federal Security Service (the "FSB") were all involved in this operation."
  • * "After the completion of the (2013) Moscow (world athletics) championships, the laboratory held a number of positive samples that needed to be swapped by removing the cap and replacing the athlete's dirty urine before the samples were shipped to another laboratory as instructed by the IAAF."
  • * "The investigation has established the Findings set out in this Report beyond a reasonable doubt."