Athletics Australia, Athletics Canada, the Russian Sports Ministry and Interpol are among the major international players who have publicly responded to today’s breaking news alleging major improprieties in Russia’s anti-doping efforts.
Maybe the most relevant reply for the swimming community came from Athletics Australia, which called the allegations “disturbing” and questioned Russia’s ability to host a major international sporting event.
“The contents of the WADA Independent Commission Report into allegations of doping in athletics is disturbing and Athletics Australia welcome the swift response by the newly elected IAAF Council and their President, Lord Sebastian Coe, to start the process of considering sanctions against the Russian Athletics Federation,” Athletics Australia said in its statement.
“We reiterate our absolute stance against doping in sport and implore the IAAF to take all actions necessary to deliver a level playing field for all athletes. Circumstances like those alleged in this Report must not be allowed to continue.”
Athletics Australia also criticized the choice of Russia as host for the 2016 IAAF World Race Walking Teams Championships and World Junior Championships.
Swimming, of course, recently held the biggest event of 2015, the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships, in Kazan, Russia, with all anti-doping samples being tested at the Moscow lab that WADA today alleged had been compromised by political tampering.
Athletics Canada released a brief statement noting its disappointment about the alleged violations and supporting continued investigations into the matter.
“First and foremost, we are very disappointed to hear the details of today’s announcement,” its statement said.
“Athletics Canada is strongly in favour of ongoing investigations into systematic doping with severe sanctions for any athlete, coach or federation in contravention of the World Anti-Doping Code, and ethical sport practices.
“We are committed to working with the IAAF, anti-doping agencies and international federations to rid the sport of cheaters, ensuring Canadian athletes are on an even playing field at all international competitions.”
Inside The Games reports that the Ministry of Sport for Russia released a lengthy statement, saying it would use the allegations made in the report to strengthn its anti-doping efforts.
It also urged WADA to focus on “real facts and evidence” in its further decisions and investigations.
It appears the Russian Sports Ministry is defending itself from allegations raised in a German documentary last year, a documentary about improprieties in Russian track and field that caused WADA to launch its investigation.
There “is a big difference between information that journalists provide and proven facts and evidence which naturally an investigation such as this should be based on,” the Russian Ministry of Sport said.
However, Inside the Games called the statement a “stringent denial and refusal to cooperate.”
“In the face of 323 pages of damning evidence in the report, the Russian defence appears increasingly out-of-touch and at odds with the findings,” Inside The Games says.
Interpol also released a statement, announcing it would be coordinating a global investigation into an “international corruption scam involving sports officials as well as athletes suspected of a doping cover-up.”
Interpol reports that the Independent Commission asked Interpol’s anti-doping unit for help during its investigation and that Interpol assisted with that investigation.
WADA has had a cooperation agreement with Interpol since 2009, with the two organizations working together to counter doping violations internationally.