NewsAlert:Investigation confirms Russian doping

Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren was tasked by the World Anti-Doping Agency with investigating allegations by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's anti-doping laboratory, of widespread use in Russia of performance-enhancing drugs directed by Russian officials.

"The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athletes' analytical results or sample swapping and the active participation and assistance of the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), CSP (Center of Sports Preparation for Russian athletes) and both Moscow and Sochi laboratories", McLaren said.

"Wada calls on sport movement to deny Russian athletes participation at worldwide competition including Rio until "culture change" achieved", the global anti-doping agency spokesman Ben Nichols said in a statement on Twitter.

The practice lasted at least four years, covered 28 Olympic sports and the Paralympics and involved at least 312 positive tests that went unreported at the behest of higher-ups in the country's sports ministry, according to a 97-page report issued Monday.

Richard McLaren, who was in charge of the investigation, says he considered making recommendations but decided against it, and urged the International Olympic Committee and others to absorb the information and act upon it as they wish.

"Such interference and calls ahead of the McLaren Report publication are totally against internationally recognised fair legal process and may have completely undermined the integrity and therefore the credibility of this important report", Hickey said.

So far International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has resisted calls for more extensive bans, maintaining the innocence of those athletes who are not breaking anti-doping rules must be respected.

The draft letter has also been circulated to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Athlete Committee members by Canada's Beckie Scott, who chairs the committee, asking whether they agree to support it. Antidoping officials are reportedly preparing to request that the nation's athlete representatives be barred from competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio following allegations of a doping scandal.

McLaren's report said the Sports Ministry under Vitaly Mutko organised the subterfuge under which tainted urine samples were replaced and kept away from worldwide observers.

At least 10 national anti-doping organisations - including the United States, Germany, Japan and Canada - and more than 20 athlete groups, representing Olympians from around the world, have come together to request a ban on Russian Federation in anticipation of today's report.

In his statement, whistle-blower Rodchenkov alleged that he assisted in doctoring urine samples provided by Russian athletes during overnight shifts at the Sochi Games.

Russia's minister of sport Vitaly Mutko told the New York Times last week that if the allegations of systematic cheating by his administration proved true, WADA bore responsibility for what he called regulatory failures; the agency was in charge of monitoring Russia's drug-testing lab and antidoping program.

According to the newspaper, a draft letter drawn up by the group was expected to be published within hours of the McLaren report in a bid to put pressure on the International Olympic Committee to take a firm line against Russian Federation.

Some world sports leaders decried what they saw as a pre-emptive strike from others pushing for a Russian ban before the findings were revealed in a press conference scheduled for 9:00 am (1300 GMT) in Toronto.

"Like iNADO, sport organizations and anti-doping organizations of all sorts have been planning for days for the possibility of the worse-case scenario, and having appropriate responses prepared, hoping they will not be needed", he said.

The McLaren report is due Friday, July 15, 2016, with public release set for next Monday.

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