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FIFA Denounces Doping Allegations Against Russian Footballers

By Ilham Karimli November 23, 2017

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Russia unveils 2014 kit at stunning gala evening in Moscow, November 22, 2013 / AFP

FIFA has announced that its investigation into Russian athletes taking performance-enhancing drugs during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil have not revealed any violation of rules.

"FIFA has undertaken comprehensive actions to identify potential anti-doping rule violations, including retesting of available samples," FIFA’s spokesperson said, according to TASS news agency. “Of all the players mentioned in the McLaren reports, two U-20 female players had already been sanctioned by the Russian authorities. For all the others, it has so far not been possible to demonstrate any anti-doping rule violation, but the investigations remain open.”

In 2015, Richard McLaren headed an independent panel commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russian sports. The panel produced a document, known as the McLaren report, which details a Russian doping program involving more than 1,000 athletes across some 30 different sports, including football (soccer). The report states that an underground, covert bank replaced positive doping samples with clean negative samples to distract test results.

The McLaren report listed 34 Russian soccer players in its report, including all 23 players in Russia’s 2014 World Cup Russian national football team, prompting FIFA to launch its own inquiry into Russian doping schemes. FIFA announced on June 24 that it was launching its own investigation into the case.

Russia pushed back, with officials calling allegations fake and far from reality. An announcement on July 1 by FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino made the case all the more complicated when he said all of the doping samples from the 23 Russian soccer players came back negative.

On Sunday, FIFA backed Infantino’s statement from the summer, reiterating the view that all doping samples collected at the 2014 World Cup were negative.

"For the FIFA Confederations Cup [currently being] played in Russia, every participating player was tested through blood and urine in unannounced controls, and further systematic tests were performed at every match," the FIFA spokesperson said, according to TASS. “The same procedure applied to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where all participating players – including all members of the Russian squad – underwent pre-competition and post-match tests, all of which resulted negative.”

"A similar protocol will be in place for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, with all analysis of doping samples done at WADA laboratories outside Russia.”

Russia is scheduled to host the 2018 World Cup from June 15 – July 15, which will be a first for the Caspian region. The doping scandal accusations made Russia’s position as host precarious, and some thought it would lose the privilege.