FINA not aware of evidence of systemic doping in Russian swimming


FINA says it is not aware of any concrete evidence to substantiate claims of systematic drug use in Russian swimming made by The Times.

The English newspaper published the findings of an investigation on Wednesday, alleging that Dr Sergei Portugalov, named in a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission's report into systemic doping in Russian athletics and accused of supplying athletes with banned substances, also pushed performance-enhancing drugs on swimmers.

Additionally, it was also claimed a coach was informed by a leader in Russian swimming that the team had a "pharmacological laboratory on site" and two swimmers did not receive punishment having tested positive for EPO.

Russian track and field athletes are banned from competition following the independent commission's probe.

Responding to The Times' allegations, a statement from governing body FINA read: "FINA is aware of the allegations made in today's [Wednesday] Times, and that further allegations may be made in the coming days.

"We have called on The Times to share with us any information they may have which might assist us in our primary objective of protecting clean athletes in swimming.

"Any new allegations of doping in our sport, which are substantiated by evidence and which have not already been addressed, will be investigated as a matter of utmost urgency, because we have absolutely zero tolerance for the use of performance-enhancing substances in swimming.

"However, it should be noted that while FINA is not aware of any concrete evidence of systemic doping in Russian swimming, we have taken a particularly robust approach to our anti-doping procedures in relation to Russia and Russian competitions, in light of WADA's recent investigation.

"During the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, 645 samples were collected for analysis by the FINA Doping Control Review Board, led by Professor Andrew Pipe, as part of the in-competition testing programme. These comprised 457 urine and 188 blood tests. There were a further 418 blood screenings as part of the Athlete Biological Passport programme.

"These tests were analysed in the then-WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow, under the supervision of independent observers from the WADA-accredited laboratories in Barcelona and London.

"Following the results of the WADA investigation, FINA issued a directive to ensure the continued integrity of the testing programme.

"Every single sample collected during the World Championships has been transferred and stored in the WADA-accredited laboratory in Barcelona. The entirety of FINA's unannounced out-of-competition doping control programme in Russia is now conducted by a third-party independent of FINA and RUSADA [Russian Anti-Doping Agency], the Swedish company IDTM.

"In the 2014 season the majority of out-of-competition doping control tests were analysed by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow, judged fully compliant with the WADA code at the time. However, following the announcement of the official investigation, FINA made the decision to move a significant majority of Russian athletes' samples out of Russia for analysis.

"In 2015, the great majority of the samples collected in Russia were analysed in the WADA-accredited laboratories in Barcelona and Koln. The samples of Russian athletes living or training outside Europe were analysed in the WADA-accredited laboratories in Montreal (CAN) and Salt Lake City (USA). One-hundred per cent of samples collected in Russia will be analysed in these overseas laboratories in 2016. 

"FINA is currently conducting target-testing for the 10 best-performing athletes in each event, with at least five tests prior to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. FINA publishes the entirety of these statistics as well as the decisions of its FINA Doping Panel on the FINA website, where they remain until bans are spent."