Legislation around doping abuse must be tightened - Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that legislation around doping abuse needs to be tightened, as well as more investigations based on facts.
“The responsibility (for doping abuse) must be tightened,” Putin said, stressing that he had discussed the topic with the government on Thursday.
“We’ve made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation: to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances,” Putin said.
READ MORE: IAAF allows Russian former drug cheat Stepanova to take part at Rio 2016
The Russian president added that he hopes State Duma votes in support of the amendments.
Putin’s comments come after accusations of doping abuse by Russian athletes. He said that Russia is “thankful” to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and pledged to investigate their findings.
“We should be thankful to our counterparts from WADA and should treat the information they've provided in a most serious way,” he said.
He noted that Russia has always been against doping at state level. “We hope the information we'll be receiving ourselves or will be getting otherwise will be unbiased,” Putin said.
The president also warned that investigations must be based on facts and not rumors. “We must get facts,” he said.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee is looking into the accusations right now, Putin added. “It is inadmissible to rely on the words of people who say it was them who committed violations and spread doping,” Putin said. “It is them who are the violators and who are responsible for this situation.”
The first allegations against Russian athletes came in November when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused the country’s athletics and anti-doping bodies of massively breaching anti-doping rules.
Russia's track and field team was suspended last November after WADA allegations. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) upheld the IAAF's decision to ban Russia from this summer's Olympic Games in Rio, after deciding the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) had failed to adequately tackle doping issues.
Russia’s Olympic Committee spoke out for the Russian athletes earlier in June, writing to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and asking the body to allow those who didn’t use doping to compete.
“These athletes are the majority in Russia. They try to reach their goal – participation in the Olympic Games – due to their hard work and constant training,” the letter said.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko also wrote an open letter to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) head Sebastian Coe, so that the world knows that “Russian sport is healthy and clean, and not like it is shown abroad.”
“Russia's athletes must not be singled out as the only ones to be punished for a problem that is widely acknowledged to go far beyond our country's borders,” he wrote.
READ MORE: Russia ‘to take 380 athletes to Rio’ as Isinbayeva submits individual application to compete
A week ago, the IAAF confirmed it has amended its regulations so that Russian track and field athletes can submit individual applications to compete in tournaments.
"A rule amendment was also passed which means that if there are any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other effective anti-doping systems, then they should be able to apply for permission to compete in international competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete," the IAAF said on its official website.