(Reuters) - WADA president Craig Reedie has urged Russia to give World Anti-Doping Agency drug testers unfettered access to athletes in its so-called ‘closed cities’.
Reedie wrote to Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko two weeks after a German WADA official was threatened with deportation by Russia’s FSB intelligence service for trying to test a Paralympic athlete in the closed city of Tryokhgorny, according to a report in the Times of London.
“These kinds of actions are totally unacceptable and full access to these ‘closed cities’ must be guaranteed,” Reedie told the Times. The term refers to towns where Russia restricts the movements of foreigners because they are home to national security installations.
WADA suspended Russia from taking part in athletic events after an investigation revealed a large-scale, state-sponsored doping program.
Reedie, who has been criticized in some media for appearing to take a soft line towards Moscow on the issue, said Russia was dragging its feet over improving its anti-doping system and ruled out compliance in time for the Rio Olympics, which start in August.
“We are having to deal very firmly with a never-ending set of issues in Russia.”
“I think it highly unlikely they will be compliant by the time of the Olympic Games. Our roadmap could take two years to implement at the current rate,” he said.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Balmforth