Russia’s Putin: No collective doping punishment

Russia's Putin: No collective doping punishment

World athletics’ governing body decided on Friday (June 17) to maintain its doping ban on all Russian athletes, leaving the country’s hopes of competing in the Rio Olympics dependent on Olympic chiefs giving a special dispensation at a meeting next week.

The Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) met in Vienna to decide whether to lift the ban after hearing from a task force that significant doping problems still existed in Russia. The suspension was first imposed in November and extended in March.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there should be no collective punishment for all Russian athletes over doping offences in the country.

“Responsibility can be only individual, there cannot be a collective responsibility of all athletes, or athletes from a certain federation if exact persons were caught,” Putin said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The initial ban, in November, came after a report by an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revealed widespread state-sponsored doping.

Putin denied any state involvement in doping violations.

“There were no and there cannot be any kind support for violations in sport, moreover of doping violations at a state level in Russia. We’ve cooperated and we will continue to cooperate with all the international organisations that work in this field.”

Putin also said it was a mistake to politicise doping issues which were a problem in other countries as well as Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was ready to take legal steps to prevent its athletes being banned en masse.

Asked about the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, Putin said he regretted violence involving Russian fans, pledging Moscow would work to try to stamp out hooliganism. But he added he wondered how “200 of our fans beat up several thousand English fans.”

He also said it was important French authorities treated anyone caught making trouble equally.

French authorities have said about 150 hard-core Russian fans took part in serious violence around the England-Russia game in Marseilles last weekend.

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Story By Reuters
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