Over 1,000 Russian athletes benefited from state-sponsored doping programme, Wada report finds

Joe Hall
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2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony
McLaren: Russia's cover-up operated on an unprecedented scale (Source: Getty)

Over 1,000 Russian athletes benefited from state-backed doping cover-ups between 2011 and 2015, according to a new independent report from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The second report into doping from law professor Richard McLaren found that doping took place across 30 sports and at Olympic Games, Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

McLaren's findings will once again but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russia from its competitions, after the country was allowed to enter athletes at the 2016 Games in Rio even after McLaren's initial report exposed Russia's state-sponsored doping programme.

Read more: A new anti-doping report could dent your faith in the Olympics

McLaren's report states: "The Russian Olympic team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale, the extent of which will never be fully established.

"This corruption involved the ongoing use of prohibited substances, washout testing and false reporting."

Some of the alleged doping practices exposed by the report included Russian coaches selling performance enhancing drugs to their athletes and then colluding with anti-doping officers to provide clean samples from other people or a previous time.

Read more: Wada and IOC come under fire from man who exposed Russia's doping operation and Lance Armstrong

"These athletes were not acting individually but within an organised structure," said McLaren.

"This systematic and centralised cover-up and manipulation of the doping control process evolved and was refined over the course of London 2012 through to the summer University Games in 2013, the Moscow IAAF Championships in 2013 and, of course, the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014.

"The swapping of Russian samples...did not stop at the close of the Winter Olympics. The sample swapping technique used at Sochi became a regular monthly practice of the Moscow Laboratory in dealing with elite summer and winter athletes."

Miranda Joseph, senior associate in the Disputes & Investigations group at international law firm Taylor Wessing, said stakeholders in the sport need to work together to regain the public's trust.

"We now need not only the athletes to stand up for clean sport, but we need all organisations to cooperate collaboratively to ensure the integrity of sport is not irreparably damaged," said Joseph. "Whether this will happen remains to be seen."

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