Dublin - The
heads of 19 National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) have called for
2018 Soccer World Cup hosts Russia to be banned from all sporting activity
until a proper anti-doping system is in place.
Their statement, released after a meeting in Dublin, also called on
the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to take over the investigation
presently under the aegis of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
into the 1 000 Russian athletes said to have been part of a
state-sponsored doping system exposed by the damning report produced by
Canadian law professor Richard McLaren.
WADA they say should also have the power to investigate sports
federations that are "now facing extensive evidence of doping and
cover-ups following the publication of McLaren’s efforts".
NADO - the United States, Japan, France and Germany were among the
countries attending the meeting - conceded that Russian athletes should
be allowed to compete as neutrals if they had undergone intensive
"With the best interests of clean athletes at heart, it is our hope
that these proposals will help sport move past these dark times and pave
a path towards a brighter future - one where the promise of clean
competition is fulfilled," said the leaders in a joint statement.
"But in order to do so, steps must be taken, and it is imperative
that those responsible for Russia’s state-supported system are held
accountable, that calls for a truly independent anti-doping model are
finally heeded and those athletes affected by this abhorrent behaviour
are given back at least some of what was taken from them.
"Lastly, with many international federations now facing extensive
evidence of doping and cover-ups following the publication of McLaren’s
efforts, the NADO leaders look to WADA, the global regulator, to monitor
and act - as required by the Code and UNESCO (United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Treaty Against Doping
in Sport - to ensure evidence is investigated and appropriate
consequences are applied," the statement added.
Russian sports officials on
Wednesday blasted NADO's statement, saying it represented a deliberate
attempt to discredit the country.
"Don't pay attention to these statements," Deputy Prime Minister
Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport news agency, RIA Novosti reported.
"This is a
thought-out attack on Russian sport whose objective is to discredit it."
Russia's image in world sports has been severely tarnished by
evidence of state-sponsored doping that saw the country's athletics team
and entire Paralympics squad excluded from the Rio Games last summer.
Moscow has consistently denied the existence of any government-run
scheme to cheat its way to medal glory and says it is doing all it can
to reform its doping control system in a bid to crack down on drug use.
Travis Tygart, head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, told insidethegames
after the NADO meeting the ban on hosting events should include next
year's Soccer World Cup.
"We continue to hear from athletes across the group (of NADO countries) whose concerns have not been addressed," Tygart said.
"So we are reigniting our urgency to hold Russia to account in order to give confidence."