Sochi, Nov 12 (IANS) Russia is ready to toughen anti-doping control and launch criminal proceedings against athletes and officials allegedly involved in doping and drugs use, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.
“We are ready to tighten measures of responsibility, including administrative responsibility and, probably, think about criminal charges,” Mutko said following a meeting of sports officials with President Vladimir Putin here, reports Xinhua. Putin has ordered an internal investigation into allegations of widespread doping practices among Russian athletes and corruption among coaches and officials.
On Monday, a commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a report accusing Russia of numerous violations of global anti-doping codes and recommended the country be banned from international athletics, including the 2016 Olympics. Mutko said that although he believed the goal of the anti-doping scandal was to weaken competition from Russian athletes, Moscow was ready to cooperate with international bodies.
“On the whole, when analysing the commission’s conclusions, I can say that there are matters that we understand, know and are ready to correct. There are issues that require certain explanations,” he said, adding that Russia would re-evaluate its domestic anti-doping services with the help of international organisations.
“The measures could include changing the quality of testing, dropping quantitative indicators, and switching from direct conventional doping tests to biological passports, which virtually eliminate any manipulation,” Mutko added. The doping scandal will be discussed on Friday at a session of the Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which has threatened to disqualify both the Russian Athletics Federation and Russian athletes.