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Published: 15:44 | 18/7/16

Russia involved in state-sponsored doping

Many sports involved

Russia operated a state-sponsored doping system during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency has found.

Led by Canadian law professor and sports lawyer Richard McLaren, the independent commission found that Russia's Ministry of Sport "directed, controlled and oversaw" the manipulation of samples provide by its athletes.

The report looked into allegations made by the former head of Russia's national anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, who claimed he doped dozens of athletes before the games with the help of the Russian secret service.

Rodchenkov claimed that up to 15 Russian athletes were part of a programme which saw their urine samples swapped with clean ones at the laboratory for the Sochi Winter Olympics, with the commission corroborating his allegations.

Speaking at a press conference in Toronto on Monday, McLaren delivered his three main findings:

-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, CSP, and both Moscow and Sochi Laboratories.”

He added: “Let me make it clear, Russian athletes in a wide range of disciplines were involved. This is not just about track and field. It covers many sports.

"We cannot name specific athletes, we were not mandated to do that. But in terms of the sports affected, it covers the vast majority of sports.

"I am supremely confident in our findings, we have only considered evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt.”

At least 10 national anti-doping organisations have called for the International Olympic Committee to impose a blanket ban on Russian involvement at the Rio Olympics but the IOC is reluctant to do so, fearing innocent athletes would miss out.

However, the IOC has said it will "not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available" against anyone found to be involved.

"The IOC will now carefully study the complex and detailed allegations in particular with regard to the Russian Ministry of Sport," a statement read.

“The findings of the report show a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games. Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.

"In the immediate short term, the IOC Executive Board (EB) will convene in a telephone conference tomorrow to take its first decisions, which may include provisional measures and sanctions with regard to the Olympic Games Rio 2016."

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