Russia accused of systematic doping and corruption
Russian long distance runner Liliya Shobukhova (second from left) claims to have paid for the covering of a doping test, German documentary reveals. Photo: cdephotos/Flickr
05.12.2014By Play the Game
In a documentary aired on German state TV ARD1, a former Russian Anti-doping Agency official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife, middle distance runner Yuliya Stepanova, laid forward accusations that the Russian national doping test laboratory had been falsifying tests and providing athletes with banned substances.
“You must dope, that's how it works in Russia. You need aid in order to get medals, and doping is this aid,” Stepanova told ARD, reports DW.
Another Russian runner, Liliya Shobukhova, is also interviewed in the documentary where she confesses to having paid the Russian Athletics Federation (RAF) 450.000 euro for covering up a positive doping case so that she could compete in the London 2012 marathon.
According to the German report, Shobukhova’s husband received a 300.000 euro refund, when she was banned last year. The refund could allegedly be linked to Russian Athletics Federation president Valentin Balakhnichev, who also serves as treasurer in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Balakhnichev himself disputes the validity of the allegations put forward in the documentary:
"I can say that there are a pack of lies and it is an unfair account," he said according to the Moscow Times. "I will be able to give a more accurate and fuller commentary later in the day once we have studied the situation further."
Also the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) argued that there was no hold in the accusations made on German TV.
"They do not have the facts or the documents, which support any offences carried out against the anti-doping principles," said RUSADA managing director Nikita Kamaev in an interview with R-Sport Agency, writes the Moscow Times.
Both the IAAF and WADA have been swift issuing statements regarding the content of the documentary.
“An investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission is already ongoing with respect to some of the allegations made in the documentary,” writes the international athletics body in a statement on their website and continues:
“With regard to matters revealed in the documentary related to anti-doping and, therefore outside the scope of the Ethics Commission, these will be studied carefully and dealt with according to the relevant IAAF rules and in full co-operation with WADA.”
In a statement issued on 3 December, the day the documentary aired, WADA says they are already investigating some of the allegations made and that they will ‘scrutinize’ all allegations.
“Insofar as the particular allegations against Russian authorities and others are concerned, these will all be carefully scrutinized and if action is warranted, WADA will take any necessary and appropriate steps under the Code," the WADA statement says.