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Published: Thu, December 29, 2016
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Russian Sports Officials Finally Admit To Widespread Doping Scheme

Russian Sports Officials Finally Admit To Widespread Doping Scheme

"The words of the acting Director General, Anna Antseliovich, have been distorted and taken out of context", the statement issued by RUSADA says.

The New York Times quoted Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA, on Tuesday as saying that there had been "an institutional conspiracy" to hide doping by Russian athletes - although she maintained that senior officials were not involved.

"Unfortunately, [New York Times journalist] Rebecca Ruiz has taken these words out of context and created an impression that the RUSADA executive group acknowledges the existence of the institutional cheating scheme in Russian Federation", it adds, stressing that "RUSADA... has no authority to confirm or deny such facts".

The Kremlin on Wednesday denied state sponsorship of doping use in Russian sports.

Sports officials admitted in recent interviews with the New York Times that they no longer dispute damning reports that lab directors, sports ministers and even Federal Security Service members were in on the sweeping operation.

And Vitaly Smirnov, the 81-year-old veteran sports official drafted this year by Russian president Vladimir Putin to oversee reforms, was less than conciliatory in his comments to the newspaper.

During the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi alone, 28 athletes were accused of doping, including "at least a dozen Russian medalists", according to Ruiz on Friday.

"Ms. Antseliovich, who has not been directly implicated in the investigations, said she was shocked by the revelations", the Times wrote.

Earlier this month, Canadian lawyer Richard H. McLaren revealed evidence of state-wide doping within Russia's sports organizations.

"It's damage control", he told the newspaper.

But he also hinted at an anti-Russian bias in the scandal, saying Western athletes received favorable treatment from global anti-doping officials.

Inside Story - Is the world anti-doping system fair to all athletes?

McLaren had published his findings earlier in December, via Ruiz, where he stated that over 1,000 athletes across 30 sports were involved in the doping program.

Russian officials have for the first time admitted the existence of a far-reaching doping operation which took place over several years.

The 2014 Winter Olympics was a pet project for Putin, who was closely involved in politicking for and preparing for them.

"Russia never had the opportunities that were given to other countries", Smirnov added.

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