WADA 'encouraged by sign of progress' from Vladimir Putin

The World Anti-doping Agency is "encouraged by this sign of progress" after president Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's anti-doping system had "failed" and urged it to reform.

WADA 'encouraged by sign of progress' from Vladimir Putin

The World Anti-doping Agency is "encouraged by this sign of progress" after president Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's anti-doping system had "failed" and urged it to reform.

The WADA-commissioned McLaren investigation in July 2016 confirmed "institutionalised manipulation of the doping control process in Russia" and a second instalment last December "reconfirmed manipulation and focused on the number of athletes that may have benefited", the global anti-doping body said.

Putin - quoted by Russia Today - said at a meeting in 2019 World Student Games host city Krasnoyarsk: "The main thing is that, despite the shortcomings in the work of (McLaren's) independent commission, we should pay attention to what it did, to the results of its work.

"We must listen to WADA's demands. Because we have to admit that we have proven cases of doping use.

"This is absolutely unacceptable and it means that the Russian anti-doping system failed, and it's our fault - we should spell it out and admit it."

Putin refuted the allegations of state-sponsored doping.

He said: "In Russia, there has never been and, I hope, will never be a state doping support system; on the contrary, there will only be anti-doping action.

"I'm counting on the investigative committee to see the probe through to the end, and to expose everyone guilty."

WADA issued a statement in response to Putin's comments.

WADA president Craig Reedie said: "WADA is encouraged by this sign of progress from the highest political levels in Russia today.

"This public admission by Russian president Vladimir Putin that their 'anti-doping system has failed' is an important step in the right direction."

RUSADA, Russia's national anti-doping agency, was declared "non-compliant" in November 2015 following an independent report, led by former WADA president Dick Pound, which uncovered widespread doping in Russian athletics.

Its track and field athletes were banned from the Rio Olympics by the IAAF, athletics' world governing body, while the International Paralympic Committee banned Russia entirely from the Rio Paralympics following the revelations in the McLaren report.

WADA shortly after the Pound report outlined a 'roadmap' aimed at supporting RUSADA to fulfil its obligations and to meet global standards.

WADA director general Olivier Niggli said: "Only once RUSADA, and its governing structures, has successfully demonstrated that it can achieve such independence, will Russian sport be able to redeem itself in the eyes of clean athletes and other stakeholders worldwide."

The International Olympic Committee earlier on Wednesday issued a statement in response to evidence given on Tuesday to United States Congress.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said: "We are fully in agreement that testing and sanctioning need to be independent from sporting organisations, but also from national interests."

With respect to WADA, Adams added: "We hope to make it more independent from both sports organisations and governments.

"We have already offered to elect a neutral president of WADA, but this has not yet been accepted by our partners in WADA - and we are still ready to discuss this once again.

"We have appointed independent experts for the WADA governance working group to give independent advice on how best to reform the governance of WADA."

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