Russia has been critical of WADA
— “It’s impossible to agree with (the report), because the report contains a lot of discrepancies,” Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said Monday, adding “it will be hard for us” to convince WADA to reinstate the Russian agency.
Accepting McLaren’s findings would mean abandoning a Kremlin line, stated regularly and vehemently, that Russia has never had any state involvement in doping.
McLaren’s investigation alleged various officials from the Sports Ministry oversaw a doping cover-up, vetoing punishment for “protected” star athletes. Most of the ministry officials named in McLaren’s report quietly resigned or were dismissed last year, but then-Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was promoted to deputy prime minister and continues to oversee preparations for next year’s soccer World Cup in Russia.
Russian relations with the IOC have soured after it started banning Russian athletes for doping offences from the Sochi Olympics. Six have been banned so far, including two medallists, and verdicts are expected within days on several more.
Still, IOC President Thomas Bach has long been supportive of Russia and said this month it was “unacceptable” to demand a blanket ban for Russia “before due process.”
Last year, Russia was viciously critical of WADA but remained on good terms with the IOC, which ruled out a blanket ban from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and passed the decision to individual sports federations. Only track and field and weightlifting imposed team-wide sanctions. This year, Russia’s tone toward the IOC is less warm.
“Come over to my country and try to take (my medals),” Russian bobsledder and federal lawmaker Alexei Voevoda taunted IOC disciplinary panel head Denis Oswald in Russian media on Monday.
Previous doping whistleblowers have left Russia citing their personal safety, but only after coming forward. The IOC bans have sparked a witch-hunt in Russian winter sports, with a cross-country skier and a biathlon coach both having to issue statements denying they’ve worked with WADA after being accused by former colleagues.