Russia responds to ‘rather unfounded’ doping claims by WADA
The accusations of state-sponsored doping in Russian track and field appear “rather unfounded”, according to President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.
Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday that whenever any charges are made, they must be based on some evidence.
He said “as long as there is no evidence, it is difficult to consider the accusations, which appear rather unfounded”.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, whose ministry is implicated in the accusations made by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), threatened to withdraw all government financial support for anti-doping work.
“If we have to close this whole system, we would be happy to close it,” he told Russia’s Interfax news agency shortly after the Wada report was published, adding: “We will only save money.”
Mr Mutko remained defiant on state television, arguing that the report presented “no serious objective evidence” of state involvement in doping and that its focus on Russia was unfair.
He said: “Doping is not the problem of Russia. Russia should not be singled out. It’s a world problem.”
The claims come at a time when the country is already under scrutiny over its hosting of the 2018 football world cup amid the scandals rocking Fifa.