German TV to air 'proof' of Russia's hand in doping

AFP , Tuesday 7 Jun 2016

Russia is embroiled in a doping scandal which could prevent its track and field athletes from competing in the Rio Olympics (AFP)

German public broadcaster ARD, which first brought the Russian doping storm to light, said Tuesday it would air new footage implicating Russia's sports minister in what it described as "state-controlled doping".

Russia's sports ministry on Tuesday evening released a preemptive statement in response to the documentary, insisting it is making extensive efforts to develop a transparent and independent anti-doping strategy.

The explosive allegations in ARD's December 2014 documentary "Secret Doping Dossier: How Russia produces its Winners" have touched off investigations that led to a raft of Russian athletes being stripped of their Olympic medals.

World athletics' governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), also imposed a ban on Russian athletes from competing in international track and field events over claims of state-sponsored doping.

But ARD said it would air more evidence that accuses the Russian government of being "directly involved in the cover-up of the state-controlled doping".

The new documentary called "The Secret World of Doping: Showdown for Russia" is due to be broadcast late Wednesday, just nine days before the IAAF is set to rule on whether to whether to reinstate the Russian athletics federation ahead of the August 5-21 Rio Olympics.

ARD said its show would present documents showing that "(Sports Minister Vitaly) Mutko prevented the publication of the doping offence of a footballer from Russia's top league".

Footage would also show that coaches found guilty of doping offences were still training top athletes, the broadcaster said.

It added that it had submitted the material to the IAAF taskforce investigating the doping allegations, which had responded in a letter, saying it was a "very serious matter" and of "grave concern".

The Russian sports ministry did not comment on any specific allegations but said that since ARD first aired the claims in December 2014, WADA had carried out a "full-scale investigation" and "subsequently a whole lot of steps were taken to fully reorganise the Russian anti-doping system."

It said it agreed a roadmap with WADA and is also carrying out the recommendations of the IAAF's taskforce.

The ministry said that it had gone "even further than simply resolving the problems in the doping control system," citing a draft law currently being considered by MPs making it a criminal offence to induce someone to use doping.

It also said it had developed educational programmes aimed at changing public views on doping.

It called the fight against doping a "world problem," saying that all the relevant organisations must "consolidate efforts" to constantly improve the anti-doping system.

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