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Rio Olympics

Russian government behind doping programme - report

According to an independent report, the Russian government operated a secret-service backed doping programme, which may lead to calls for bans on all Russian athletes in Rio

Russian government behind doping programme - report
HENDRIK SCHMIDT EPA

Russia operated a state-dictated doping system during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and other events, an independent investigator said Monday in a report likely to lead to demands for Russia to be completely banned from the Rio Games.

Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said Russia's FSB secret service had backed the doping cover-ups by anti-doping laboratories in Moscow and Sochi under orders from the country's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

"The Moscow laboratory operated, for the protection of doped Russian athletes, within a state-dictated failsafe system," McLaren said. "The Sochi Laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Winter Olympic Games," he added.

IOC: "We'll take the toughest sanctions available"

Reacting to the report the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach sais: “The findings of the report show a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games. Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated.”

Russian national flag next to the Olympic flag at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The United States and Canadian anti-doping agency have called for a potential ban of all Russian competitors from the Rio Games, which start August 5, if the McLaren report was damning enough.

"The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athletes' analytical results or sample swapping and the active participation and assistance of the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), CSP (Center of Sports Preparation for Russian athletes) and both Moscow and Sochi laboratories."

The World Anti-Doping Agency had McLaren investigate allegations made by former Russian anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov in a May article in The New York Times.

Rodchenkov, now living in the United States, had told how Russian secret service agents helped the operation to get Russian samples away from international inspectors at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Report is "creditable and verifiable"

"I'm unwaveringly confident in our report," McLaren said, noting the two Russian government-backed groups were "directly involved in the state-overseen program."

McLaren said the report was "credible and verifiable" and called Rodchenkov "was a credible and truthful person." Rodchenkov said Russia's sports ministry was actively involved in doping -- an accusation Russian officials have denied. He said an intricate doping program was "working like a Swiss watch" and helped at least 15 Russian medalists.