FIFA says it is “still investigating” allegations that Russia’s 2014 World Cup squad were involved in a doping programme.
A report in the Mail on Sunday claimed that the 23-man squad at the finals in Brazil, along with another 11 footballers, are “people of interest” to officials at the heart of the probe into state-sponsored doping in Russia.
World football’s governing body says allegations surrounding players mentioned in the 2016 McLaren report continue to be looked at but it stressed that the Russian squad at the last World Cup did not fail any post-match or pre-tournament doping tests.
It added that all similar tests carried out at the Confederations Cup finals this month have been negative.
“FIFA has simply confirmed that, in close collaboration with WADA, it is still investigating the allegations involving football players in the so-called McLaren report. However, FIFA did not refer to any particular players, since it cannot comment on the status of ongoing investigations,” a FIFA spokesperson told Omnisport.
“It is in FIFA’s interest that such procedures are finalised as early as possible, since until then FIFA will not be in a position to provide any further details.
“As far as the FIFA Confederations Cup is concerned, every participating player has been tested through blood and urine in unannounced controls. Both the results of the unannounced and the post-match tests have been negative so far.
“Furthermore, all players participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup – including all members of the Russian squad – underwent pre-competition and post-match tests, all of which resulted negative. FIFA was in charge of the tests and sent all samples to be analysed by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne. The same procedure is currently being applied for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017.”
Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister for Sport, branded the allegations by the Mail on Sunday “nonsense”.
“There have never been and will never be any problems with doping in our football — our team are permanently being tested, they undergo doping tests after every match,” Mutko told Russian news agency TASS.
“They have written some sort of nonsense. Don’t bother reading the English newspapers in the morning.”
Solicitor Richard McLaren published a report in December last year claiming that, between 2011 and 2015, more than 1,000 Russian sportspersons benefited from a highly organised scheme in which the results of positive doping tests were covered up or manipulated.
McLaren described the programme as corruption “on an unprecedented scale” and it led to a ban on Russian athletes competing at the Olympics in Rio last year.
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