Doping commission starts work in Moscow

Vitaly Mutko (Getty Images)
Vitaly Mutko (Getty Images)

Moscow - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission that unveiled widespread doping and corruption in Russian athletics has begun work in Moscow to help Russia clean up its act, the country's Olympic Committee said Thursday.

"The WADA commission today is beginning its work in Moscow," TASS news agency quoted Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov as saying.

"The commission, among other things, will determine which international organisations will oversee doping controls in the country while [anti-doping agency] RUSADA and our [anti-doping] laboratory are suspended."

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) suspended Russia last month after a bombshell report published by a WADA independent commission found evidence of state-sponsored doping and large-scale corruption in Russian athletics.

Russia -- whose anti-doping agency RUSADA and anti-doping laboratory were suspended over the report -- has vowed to retrieve IAAF membership in time for its track and field athletes to compete at next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

An aide to sports minister Vitaly Mutko, Natalya Zhelanova, said WADA has recommended the UK anti-doping agency assist RUSADA in implementing reforms.

Earlier this month Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said Moscow and WADA had agreed on steps to reform RUSADA, which was found non-compliant with international anti-doping standards.

WADA's report accused RUSADA of "routinely" violating international testing standards and allowing athletes banned for doping to compete despite having been suspended from competition, among other damning accusations.

Russian sports authorities have said they would strive to get RUSADA reaccredited as quickly as possible, with Zhukov saying Thursday that the appointment of a foreigner to head of the national anti-doping agency was "possible".

RUSADA has said it is already addressing the "deficiencies" identified in the WADA report and was committed to fighting doping.

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