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    Russian Health Ministry Must Handle Anti-Doping Policies

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    Chair of Russia’s newly established Anti-Doping Commission, Vitaly Smirnov, said that anti-doping policies must be handled by the Health Ministry in Russia.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia must entrust its anti-doping policies to the Health Ministry in order to make them more effective, the chair of Russia’s newly established Anti-Doping Commission, Vitaly Smirnov, said Thursday.

    "We are ready to create an absolutely transparent system in our country, given that the same system is used by other countries. Here, the principle of equality among the members of the Olympic family must prevail. It must be said that no system is perfect and must be constantly improved. The trust of the international Olympic movement must be regained. Anti-doping policies are ineffective when different authorities are handling it. Anti-doping policies must be handled by the Health Ministry," Smirnov told reporters.

    Smirnov, a former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its member since 1971, was put forward to head the independent commission by Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the ongoing doping scandal surrounding the Russian national team and its participation in the 2016 Olympic Games. A number of Russian athletes were banned by various sports federations from international competitions after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report alleged that Russia had been running a doping probe coverup.

    The outfall of the doping scandal is mainly Russia's fault, Smirnov said, stressing that the country should not have given up its leading positions in the world's main sports federations.

    "I think it is our fault that that this happened. We lost our positions in the largest federations, for swimming and athletics. We used to have presidents and executive committee members," he said.

    WADA's McLaren report on Russian doping was the latest in a line of allegations made against Russian athletes and sports institutions. In 2015, WADA's Independent Commission issued a report accusing Russia of numerous breaches of global anti-doping regulations, which led to the Russian team's suspension from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).


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