‘Russian footballers never doped’ – Deputy PM Mutko
A report by the UK’s Mail on Sunday claimed that FIFA has started at investigation into the Russian national football squad at the World Cup in Brazil being part of a state-supported doping program.
Mutko said that the British media should refrain from voluntarily “taking up the role of press secretaries of… FIFA.”
He said that the accusations against the Russian players were politically motivated, adding that “it was no coincidence” that they emerged during the FIFA Confederations Cup, which Russia is hosting “on the highest level.”
“We see a great desire to discredit Russia; discredit Russian sports; all our efforts…. We know that many western media outlets are trying to report only on the negative sides. Therefore, one shouldn’t pay attention to [these reports],” the Deputy FM stressed.
Mutko, who is also head of the Russian Football Union, told RT that “there was never doping use in Russian football, especially, on a systematic level.”
“Besides, it’s useless in football,” he added.
The Russian team at the ongoing Confederations Cup went through doping tests on a par with the other participants and “we see that there are no problems there,” the official said.
According to Mutko, all the players from the Russian roster were also tested ahead of the tournament, shortly after arriving at their training camp in Austria.
FIFA denied the Mail on Sunday’s accusations of doping use by Russian players in a statement on Sunday.
“FIFA has simply confirmed that, in close collaboration with WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency), it is still investigating the allegations involving football players in the so-called McLaren report. However, FIFA did not refer to any particular players, since it cannot comment on the status of ongoing investigations,” the statement read.
Football’s governing body also stressed that all the participants of the Confederations Cup, including the Russians, were tested for doping prior and during the event and said that “tests have been negative so far.”
He expressed hope that the negative media reports will be overpowered by the feedback from the teams and fans, who are enjoying the job done by Russia at the Confederations Cup.
“We’re in contact with all the participating teams. We don’t have a single complaint from any of the teams. It’s all on the highest level… The fans, who are here, are also broadcasting this information to the word,” the deputy PM said.
Hosts Russia were beaten by Mexico 2-1 in Kazan on Saturday and failed to qualify to the playoffs, but Mutko said he enjoyed the team’s performance.
“You always want to win. We’ve lost. But one shouldn’t feel ashamed for this team… They fought until the end, trying to find the net despite being a man down,” he said.
“We have time to prepare a good squad and show a better result at the FIFA World Cup 2018,” which Russia hosts next year, the Deputy FM added.
The Confederations Cup, hosted in the Russian cities of Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, is being seen as Russia’s dress rehearsal ahead of the World Cup.
The tournament, which concludes July 2, has brought together the champions of FIFA’s six regional confederations: Portugal, Chile, Mexico, Cameroon, Australia, New Zealand; as well as current World Cup holders Germany, and host nation Russia.