TV allegations a pack of lies - Russian Athletics chief

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2014 7:48 AM

By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A German TV documentary alleging widespread doping and cover-ups among Russian track and field competitors contains "a pack of lies", the country's athletics federation president told Reuters on Thursday.

"I can say that there are a pack of lies and it is an unfair account," Valentin Balakhnichev said. "I will be able to give a more accurate and fuller commentary later in the day once we have studied the situation further."

The hour-long program, broadcast by ZDF/ARD on Wednesday, features an undercover video of what it says are Russian athletes and coaches admitting to covering up positive tests.

The video, which has not been seen or verified by Reuters, also alleges corruption and a systematic doping issue among Russian athletes and high-ranking officials.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said in a statement that they were "grave allegations".

"An investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission is already ongoing with respect to some of the allegations," added the IAAF.

"We would like to underline the Ethics Commission is completely independent of the IAAF and has full powers to investigate and issue sanctions when relevant."

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) said there was nothing to support the allegations.

"They do not have the facts or the documents which support any offences carried out against the anti-doping principles," said RUSADA managing director Nikita Kamaev in an interview with R-Sport Agency.

"In terms of the television program, I have not seen it as I do not understand German well enough. Therefore I am not able to comment on it.

FULL INVESTIGATION

"In terms of the statement on WADA's (World Anti-Doping Agency) website, RUSADA has not received an official request regarding this issue. We believe the speculation and the statements are completely unfounded."

According to TASS Agency, the Russian Athletics Federation will hold an emergency meeting later on Thursday.

WADA said it would ensure any pertinent matters raised in the documentary would be "fully investigated".

"WADA has in fact already received some information and evidence of the type exposed in the documentary. All of that information has been passed to the appropriate independent body within the international federation, the IAAF.

"We will await the outcome of that independent body's deliberations," added WADA.

"In so far as the particular allegations against Russian authorities and others are concerned, these will all be carefully scrutinized and if action is warranted, WADA will take any necessary and appropriate steps under the Code."

(Editing by Justin Palmer)