23 December 2016
Vladimir Putin said that the work of WADA should be transparent
Today, 23 December, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a large press conference in Moscow, which lasted almost four hours. In particular he responded to a question about the doping scandal in Russian sport, and expressed his opinion about the activities of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Russia has never created a state-run doping support system. I wanted to repeat this as my first point. Secondly, like any other country, we have a doping problem. We must admit this and do everything in our power to solve it. As such, we need to closely cooperate with the International Olympic Committee, WADA and other international organisations. We will do this. I hope that the ongoing changes, which are not only about personnel but are systemic and structural changes, will help us achieve these goals. In addition, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and the Prosecutor’s Office are investigating all doping cases and they will, definitely, bring these cases to their logical conclusion.
I would like to say a few words about the so-called whistle-blowers who ran away from the country, grass up everyone or make up things. I do not remember exactly the name of the person who fled Russia. He headed the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. And where did he work before that? In Canada. And what did he do after that? He came to Russia and brought all kinds of nasty stuff with him, while serving as a high-ranking official. It is hard to imagine that he managed to cross the Canadian or US border carrying banned substances without being detected. Many of you have crossed the US and Canadian borders, there are very strict controls there. He travelled back and forth many times to bring this nasty stuff here. It was his personal undertaking. He forced people to take these substances, and even came up with some sort of sanctions against those who refused to do so, for example, the swimmers. When he was exposed, they just couldn’t put him into jail, he fled and started giving avay everything in order to protect himself and secure a place in the sun in hope of a better life. At a certain point he will get what he wants. But after that, just as it happens to any rascal, they will drop him. Nobody needs people like this. And why did he not fight here? This makes me think that somebody was behind him. They waited for a certain moment and started spreading these false stories. But this does not mean that we do not have a problem with doping. We do have this problem, and we must fight it, thinking primarily of athletes’ health.
As for WADA, I am not entitled to assess WADA’s performance. It is up to the International Olympic Committee to do it. But I am sure that operations of any anti-doping agency, including WADA, should be completely transparent, clear and verifiable, and we must be informed about the results of their work. What does this mean? This means that the international sports community should know who is to be tested, when and by what means, what the results are and what measures are being taken to punish those responsible, and what is being done to prevent such incidents in the future. And what’s going on now? Is WADA some sort of defence industry? No. But in this case it is unclear why everything is held in closed regime? They always ask us to be transparent. Transparency is very important in this area.
Obviously, there is a certain political component in all recent decisions, related to major competitions. Just as culture, sport should be free from politics, because sport and culture should both help bring people together instead of driving them apart.’ – stated Vladimir Putin.