Mutko hits out at 'absurd' doping allegations


Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has described allegations of state-sponsored doping as "absurd" and said the country is prepared to take additional anti-doping measures as it waits to discover if the IAAF will impose a ban on athletes.

Allegations of "corruption and bribery" at the highest levels of international athletics were this week made in a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The commission, led by former WADA president Dick Pound, was set up to investigate allegations of systemic cheating and cover-ups within Russian athletics.

Russian president Vladimir Putin called for an internal investigation into a scandal that the International Olympic Committee and the Russian Olympic Committee are due to give a joint statement on later on Friday.

The IAAF is due to meet on Friday to discuss whether a provisional suspension should be imposed on Russian athletes.

Mutko has called for a "reasonable" ruling to be made and says Russia is ready to makes changes to its anti-doping procedures.

"I have been working on this for [the last] three days and fulfilling the president's task," he is quoted as saying by Russian News Agency TASS.

"I have had many conversations with [WADA president] Craig Reedie and gave him oral and written reports on the anti-doping situation in Russia. We are ready, just give us a roadmap.

"Russia is making every effort to maintain anti-doping fight. We are paying $1million fees to the World Anti-Doping Agency and 300,000 to UNESCO.

"Are we doing this to cover up some coach or athlete? This accusation is absurd. If these measures are not enough, we should publicly and voluntarily take extra ones. And if necessary we will make some decisions to change the system.

"We hope that the decision will be reasonable, not of anti-Russian nature. Innocent athletes must be protected. Doping gets into the body system of an athlete only with one's permission. It is exclusively an independent choice of an athlete."