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05:38 GMT +3 hours18 December 2014
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Хоккей

'Clean Ice' program to combat doping in Russian hockey

© Sputnik. Vladimir Fedorenko
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Russian hockey officials on Monday unveiled a "Clean Ice" program to combat doping in the Kontinental Hockey League and to try to stave off drugs controversy at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Russian hockey officials on Monday unveiled a "Clean Ice" program to combat doping in the Kontinental Hockey League and to try to stave off drugs controversy at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Doping in Russian hockey is rarely reported, especially in comparison with other sports such as biathlon. It is a reputation the Russian Hockey Federation is keen to uphold.

"The program is not limited to maintaining anti-doping discipline in professional hockey," the federation said in a website statement.

Its task is to use the popularity of hockey to "give fresh impetus to the fight against doping in our society ... to strengthen the sporting authority and national image of Russia," the statement said. "This is especially important with the 2014 Olympics in Sochi."

The program foresees anti-drugs education and marketing campaigns as well as the creation of an "institute" where KHL stars will serve as "commissars" and show their support for "fair play" ethics, the statement said.

The federation said it hopes the message will carry to other sports, where the country's record has not been so clean.

Russia has had dozens of athletes suspended for taking banned substances over the years, causing international officials to urge more stringent controls.

John Fahey, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, called on Russia last year to expand its domestic doping control efforts including implementing an effective education program.

Last month, the Russian parliament passed a law banning coaches and doctors from involvement in sports if they are found to be complicit in their athlete's doping offenses.