Russia’s system for preventing abuse of performance-enhancing drugs among athletes “has not worked,” President Vladimir Putin has admitted.
Putin said on Wednesday in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk that it was the fault of Russia that the system had failed.
“This is our fault, and it is necessary to say this directly and admit it,” Putin said during a meeting on preparations for the 2019 winter Universiade, an international university-level sports competition.
He said he was counting on federal investigators to “identify all who are guilty in this situation,” according to a transcript posted on the Kremlin’s website.
He denied allegations that Russian officials have supported use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“In Russia there has never been, and I hope will never be, a state system for supporting doping,” Putin said.
In December officials in Russia admitted to mass doping in the country’s sports system but dismissed suggestions that the “institutional conspiracy” was state-sponsored.
The final part of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s independent report into doping in Russia provided exhaustive evidence of an elaborate doping scheme but officials at the time denied it was a state-backed programme.
The report found over 1,000 Russian competitors in over 30 sports was involved in a conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests over a period of five years.
“It was an institutional conspiracy,’’ Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia’s anti-doping agency, told newsmen, but added that top officials were not involved.
Over 100 Russian athletes were barred from competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year after the International Olympic Committee set criteria for Russian athletes to meet.
Vitaly Smirnov, head of a new commission created to combat doping, said that they have included a clean doping and sufficient testing at international events.
“From my point of view, as a former minister of sport, president of the Olympic committee, we made a lot of mistakes.
“We have to find those reasons why young sportsmen are taking doping, why they agree to be doped,’’ Smirnov stressed.