Putin gets involved, a good sign for Russian athletics? from EME News

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StadiumWide-World13.jpgLushniki Stadium, Moscow, photo by PhotoRun.net

MOSCOW (RUS): Sport24.co.za informs that Russia would be ready to appoint a foreign expert to head its anti-doping laboratory, the sports minister said Wednesday, after the former director of the facility quit following the lab's suspension over allegations from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). "We are absolutely open and ready as a result of consultations with WADA to appoint even a foreign specialist to lead the laboratory if it is necessary," minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport news agency.

SOCHI (RUS): TASS informs that Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called to protect Russian athletes from the use of doping. "As regards the latest events connected with our athletics federation, I ask the sports minister, all colleagues who are connected with sports in this or that way, to pay close attention to that," Putin said during a conference on preparation for the 2016 Olympics. "It's necessary to conduct an internal investigation of our own and ensure the most open, professional, I would underscore, cooperation with international antidoping structures," he said. Responsibility of the use of dopings in sports should be personalized and those who are not responsible should not bear responsibility for others, Putin said on Wednesday.

MOSCOW (RUS): Olympic Committee of Russia (OKR) published its official statement after report of WADA independent commission about doping and corruption in Russian athletics. "Our position is clear. Anyone exposed in using of illegal drugs and anyone, who was conducive to their using in one way or another, has to be banned. If guilty is proved, the solution should be as strict as possible," statement says. OKR also calls to the IOC and the IAAF to take into account the right of honest athletes when organizations will make any further decisions based on report of special WADA commission. Clean athletes have right to participate in international sports competitions which should not be subject to limitations. "From our side we are always open for cooperation with all international organizations and we are ready to continue to support any initiatives in fight against doping. This is the only way to save the purity of the sport. OKR will work in this direction in close cooperation with the IOC, WADA, other National Olympic Committees and sports federations.

Editor's note: Russia seems to be sending a variety of messages. While Vitaly Mutko has denied much over the past 72 hours, he also now is noted as saying that they will take foreign management of the Moscow lab. And now, President Putin has asked Mutko to explain the situation. Note that Thomas Bach, IOC President took his first phone call of congratulations from President Putin. President Putin loves sports. There is no way Mr. Putin is going to stand for his country to be isolated in the global sports world. The change in the Russian system will be painful, but this is a positive sign.

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