Putin wants official investigation into Russian doping scandal

Putin wants official investigation into Russian doping scandal
Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered a thorough investigation into the alleged doping currently rife among athletes of the Russian Federation, saying individual punishment should be meted out rather than the country being banned as a whole.

A report on what has been described as a systematic, ‘state-supported’ doping program in Russia was published this week by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has also recommended the country be banned from athletics competition in the aftermath.

But Putin, speaking for the first time on the issue, called for a search for individuals within Russian athletics, insisting that those innocent of the crime should not be punished for others’ actions.

"Sportsmen who don't dope - and never have - must not answer for those who break the rules," he said.

"If we find that someone must be held responsible for something of the sort that breaks the rules in place against doping, then the responsibility must be personalized - that's the rule."

WADA’s report, which was carried out over the last year, began in response to German broadcaster ARD’s documentary ‘The secrets of Doping: How Russia makes its winners?’

Published in November, the report's co-author, sports lawyer Richard McLaren, says their findings reveal "a different scale of corruption", and even compared the issue with soccer’s ongoing FIFA scandal, going so far as to say that actual results at international athletics competitions had been effected because of cheating.

READ MORE: 'Russia stuck in middle of global athletics crisis'

Putin, speaking before a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, has demanded immediate investigation in light of the far-reaching report, insisting that an internal operation is the necessary step.

"I ask the minister of sport and all our colleagues who are linked in one way or another with sport to pay this issue the greatest possible attention," he said,

"It is essential that we conduct our own internal investigation and - I want to underline - provide the most open professional co-operation with international anti-doping structures.

"The battle must be open," he said. "A sporting contest is only interesting when it is honest."