WADA uncovers Russian football doping
Emails released by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation have shown that players from Russia's Under-21 national football team had suspicious drug-test samples covered up.
The emails, released this month as part of WADA investigator Richard McLaren's report on Russian doping, say that there were five suspicious samples in the Russian men's Under-17 and Under-21 national teams in 2013 and 2014.
Another case in the Russian league was allegedly covered up by then Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also in charge of the country's World Cup preparations. The FIFA ethics committee said yesterday that it will "examine the report thoroughly" in response to the allegations about football and the role of Mutko, who sits on the FIFA Council.
The allegations follow a tough year for Russian football, which is trying to prepare to host the 2018 World Cup but has faced criticism over hooliganism involving fans at the European Championship and racism in the domestic game.
TOLD TO SAVE PLAYERS
The doping cases in the Russian national teams were all recorded as clean by Moscow lab director
Grigory Rodchenkov after instructions from Sports Ministry employee Alexei Velikodny to "save" the players, McLaren's investigation found.
The records show that three members of the Russian Under-21 team gave suspicious samples at the national training base shortly before travelling to the 2013 European championship, with two showing elevated testosterone levels - a key indicator of doping - and another testing positive for cannabis. A fourth player's sample contained high traces of alcohol, which isn't banned but seems to have been included in the documents as a warning.
The Russian squad at the tournament included some players who have gone on to play for Russia's national team.
"FIFA is now reviewing the evidence provided by WADA after the final McLaren report, and based on this information, FIFA will take the appropriate next steps in accordance with the anti-doping regulations," the governing body said. "The result of the investigation will be communicated in due course. Please understand, we cannot comment further at this stage."
Both UEFA and the Russian Football Union, of which Mutko is president, declined to comment.