Russian official admits to existence of doping programme

Updated: 

A Russian official has admitted to the existence of a national doping operation which has implicated athletes across the country.

The second part of the McLaren Report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, published this month stated over 1000 Russian athletes across 30 different sports "were involved in or benefited from" a state-sponsored doping regime.

The report's author, Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said the Olympic Games in London in 2012 had been "corrupted on an unprecedented scale".

The Russian Ministry of Sport rejected claims that the state had been involved in a doping system.

But acting director general of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Anna Antseliovich has admitted there was internal collusion.

"It was an institutional conspiracy," Antseliovich told the New York Times, while emphasising that no top government officials were involved.

Vitaly Smirnov, a former minister for sport and president of the Russian Olympic Committee, was recently appointed head of the Russia's independent public anti-doping commission.

Smirnov confessed there had been errors in the past and hopes to get to the root of the problem.

"I do not want to speak for the people responsible," he told the New York Times.

"From my point of view, as a former minister of sport, president of the Olympic Committee - we made a lot of mistakes.

"We have to find those reasons why young sportsmen are taking doping, why they agree to be doped."

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