Doping scandals to have no effect on 2018 Russia World Cup

Moscow, April 21 (IANS) Doping scandals will have no effect on the 2018 World Cup and Russian football, Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko has said.

“Doping scandals will not have any effect on the World Championship and our football as a whole,” Mutko said in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament on Wednesday, reports Tass.

The doping scandal erupted in December 2014 after the German TV Channel ARD aired a documentary entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case).

The documentary said that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches.

The main characters in the documentary were athlete Yulia Stepanova and her husband Vitaly Stepanov who used to work for the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. After the documentary was aired by the German TV channel, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) set up a commission to investigate the case.

The WADA independent commission published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activities of the all-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the decision of the agency’s independent commission that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organisation.

The International Association of Athletics Federations said at its Council meeting in November that a report prepared by the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) on the struggle against doping was unsatisfactory and decided by a majority of votes to suspend Russia’s membership in the international athletics association.

Russian sports minister Mutko travelled on November 25-26 to Germany’s Frankfurt, where he met with the administration of WADA, and a road map on the settlement of the current situation was drafted as a result of that meeting.

Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup on December 4, 2010 in a tight race against the bid from England, the joint bid from Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

The country later selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.

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