Russian sport was subject to a state controlled cover-up which allowed doped athletes to compete at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report has claimed.
The report, compiled independently by Professor Richard H. McLaren and released on 18th July 2016, found that the Russian Ministry of Sport “directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s analytical results or sample swapping” as part of the system.
The damning accusations have led to widespread reports of calls for a complete ban on the nation competing at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, in addition to the current ban on Russian track and field athletes.
The International Olympic Committee will begin discussions on 19th July about what measures and sanctions they could take.
McLaren’s report detailed that two laboratories, in Moscow and Sochi, operated two types of cover-ups with the help of the Russian Federal Security Service.
One method is labeled the “Disappearing Positive Methodology” by McLaren and is said to have been used by the Moscow laboratory.
The report states that the lab were required to communicate every positive drugs test to the Deputy Minister of Sport, Yuri Nagornykh, who would eventually decided whether the result should be treated normally or falsified as a negative result when reporting it to WADA.
The reports says: “What is evident from this process is that the Moscow Laboratory was carrying out the order given to it by the Deputy Minister of Sport.
“They had no choice. It is for this reason that the IP [Professor McLaren] has determined that the Laboratory was merely a cog in a State run machine.”
McLaren confirms Ministry of sport and government involvement in Russian doping program.
— WADA (@wada_ama) July 18, 2016
The Sochi laboratory had to develop a different method due to the presence of “international personnel” and this is called the “Sample Swapping Methodology” in the WADA report.
This involved positive urine samples being swapped for clean ones which had been given prior to the games and stored in a Federal Security Service freezer.
The report says: “The clandestine swapping process would be carried out throughout the night when there were normally no international personnel present.
“By the morning clean urine samples from the night’s activity would be waiting.”
In response to the report the International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, said: “The findings of the report show a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games.
“Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated.”
Nicole Sapstead, UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive, said: “Now is the time for the entire sporting community to come together to find a way forward and ensure that the right processes, legislation and safeguards are in place to protect the rights of all athletes to clean, fair and honest competition.”
McLaren accuses Russia of planning and creating this system in response to the nation’s poor results at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, where they finished 11th in the medal table with just three gold medals.
The report, which Richard McLaren said he has “unwavering confidence” in, can be read in full here.