Vitaly Mutko (Getty Images)
(ATR) Deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko has hit back at calls by U.K. Anti-Doping chief for Russia to be banned from the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.
On Saturday, UKAD chair David Kenworthy told the BBC that Russia deserved to be suspended from next February’s Games in Korea based on Richard McLaren’s two dossiers of evidence detailing government-supported doping, which included evidence of a cover-up at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
He also slammed the IOC’s reluctance to punish Russia with a blanket ban from the Rio Olympics, saying Thomas Bach’s committee had made "a complete muck-up" in its response to the first and second McLaren reports, issued in July and last month.
"Yes, I think they should [be banned from PyeongChang],” he said. “I think they should have been banned from the Olympics in the summer.” He added: “There was too much politicking going on, that was the problem. People were probably trying to protect vested interests.”
Kenworthy said he was "absolutely horrified" by the explosive revelations in the WADA investigator’s second independent report issued in December, which implicated more than 1,000 Russians in a doping cover-up from 2011 to 2015.
Former sports minister Mutko, banned by the IOC from attending the Rio Games following the McLaren Report, said Sunday he was “surprised” by Kenworthy's comments to the BBC which he branded “unsportsmanlike”.
Noting that UKAD had been assisting Russia in its anti-doping controls and structures over the past year since RUSADA’s suspension by WADA, Mutko criticized the U.K.’s anti-doping crusader in comments to the TASS news agency.
“We are paying big money for their work. They have been working with us for a year already. He should have supported us instead,” he was quoted as saying.
“I am simply surprised. As of today, we pay them money and actually we can raise a question whether we should cancel the deal and switch over to another organization. If they do not believe in us, than why should it supervise us?" Mutko was quoted by Sputnik News.
Mutko said Russia should compete at the PyeongChang Olympics.
"If you look at the situation from a legal perspective, with a view to fairness, there is no doubt in [Russia's participation]. Today, our team is open, it is in the public eye… It had been in the public eye for two years already," Mutko told Sputnik.
Mutko is in Zurich Monday for a FIFA Council meeting tomorrow.
The president of Russia’s 2018 world Cup organizing committee is one of UEFA’s five candidates for re-election to FIFA’s ruling body in the spring. An update on preparations for the 2018 World Cup is among the agenda items for the FIFA meeting chaired by Gianni Infantino.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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