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‘We failed to prevent it:’ Russian President Vladimir Putin on doping scandal

‘We failed to prevent it:’ Russian President Vladimir Putin on doping scandal
Speaking at his annual Q&A session, Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's partial responsibility for the doping scandal that rocked the country, but insisted that a state-sponsored system has never existed in the country.

The Russian head of state emphasized that flagrant doping violations did take place and called on sports officials to admit their shortcomings in preventing them, but Putin denied allegations of state-sponsored doping, saying that an “athletes’ health” has always been the main priority for the Russian government.

READ MORE: WADA experts start inspecting Moscow anti-doping laboratory

First of all we are responsible for the situation we face, because there were doping violations [committed by the Russian athletes]” Putin said.

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“It’s another matter that some officials are trying to impose an opinion that there was state doping in Russia. This is not true. We never had that and will never create such a system, because we should not only think about sports results, which are important, but our main priority is the athlete’s health,” he added.

The president stressed that Russia should build an effective system to fight doping and  that national sports officials have been working in close cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to do so.

“The doping violations took place, we need to admit them, and secondly we must accept that this is our fault for failing to organize a sufficient scheme to eradicate doping. The blame is fully on the organizations which were responsible for controlling it,” Putin said.

READ MORE: 'We trust that RUSADA will keep their promises’ – WADA Director General Niggli

But it’s not only Russia’s problem. Doping is widespread throughout the world. Our main goal is to minimize cases of doping violations and try to fully clean up our sport. Now, a WADA delegation is visiting our country to hold negotiations with Russia’s sports ministry and analyzing data [of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory]. I hope that political aspect, which of course exists, will finally evaporate.”

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