RUSADA claim official was misquoted over doping cover-up 'admission'

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The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has insisted acting director general Anna Antseliovich was misquoted when claiming doping in the country was "an institutional conspiracy".

Earlier this month, the second part of the McLaren Report - produced independently at the request of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) - found over 1,000 Russian athletes across more than 30 sports were involved in or benefited from "a cover-up that operated on an unprecedented scale".

Quotes reported by the New York Times appeared to show Antseliovich admitting to the existence of a national doping operation, albeit while denying such a scheme was state-sponsored.

Yet RUSADA released a statement on Wednesday denying there had been any such admission from Antseliovich.

It read: "In response to the article published in 'The New York Times' newspaper, RUSADA states that its acting director general A.A. Antseliovich has been misquoted and her words were taken out of context.

"During the conversation between A.A. Antseliovich and the journalist Rebecca Ruiz, the acting director general pointed out that in the second part of his report published on December 9, 2016, Richard McLaren no longer used the words "state-sponsored system of doping" and instead referred to an "institutional conspiracy", thereby excluding potential involvement of the country's top officials.

"Unfortunately, Ms. Ruiz, by taking the words out of context, created an impression that RUSADA management admits to the existence of such [an] institutional conspiracy of doping cover-up in Russia.

"We would like to stress that RUSADA has no authority to admit to or deny any such fact, since the investigation of the case is handled by the investigative committee of the Russian Federation.

"In addition, we would like to stress that RUSADA firmly believes that every accused athlete has the unalienable right to challenge the accusations.

"For our part, we reaffirm our commitment to the anti-doping principles and continue to operate in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and All-Russia anti-doping rules."

Last Friday, the IOC initiated disciplinary proceedings against 28 Russian athletes whose urine samples at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi were allegedly manipulated.