Russia says ready to investigate doping allegations

Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:28am EST
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is ready to carry out an investigation into doping allegations against its athletes in concert with independent organizations, Interfax news agency quoted Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko as saying on Friday.

Mutko labeled allegations by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of a widespread and state-backed drug culture in Russian athletics as "absurd", Interfax reported.

He also said the International and Russian Olympic Committees would make a joint statement on the scandal later on Friday.

Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov, who is also an IOC member, arrived this week in Lausanne and met with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in a hastily-arranged meeting in a bid to contain the fallout from the scandal, a source within the Olympic movement said.

Zhukov was a chief organizer of the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics and a crucial link between the Russian government and the IOC throughout the preparation for those Games.

The source said there were "conciliatory and constructive noises" from the Russian side following the revelations from the WADA independent commission report.

Vladimir Putin earlier this week said he wanted Russia to conduct an internal investigation into the accusations and that someone needed to take personal responsibility for the problem.

Mutko did not rule out that Russia could take measures to address the allegations ahead of a meeting of the council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Earlier on Friday, he said that Russia was ready to reform its anti-doping agency or create a new one.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Jack Stubbs)

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko attends a news conference dedicated to the organization of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, Russia, July 8, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov