• Sports
  • russia

Russian Athletics Official Admits Country Has Doping Problem

2 minute read

The general-secretary of Russia’s athletics federation admits Russia has a doping problem in the wake of a damning report from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“We know our problem with the doping,” Mikhail Butov of the All-Russia Athletics Federation told BBC’s Newsnight on Tuesday. “We need to work to change the mentality of many coaches, especially the coaches in the regions. We started to do it very, very hard in April. We started an educational program.”

Earlier this week, a WADA report accused Russia of having a “deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels” and alleged widespread doping among Russian athletes during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where Russians took home 24 medals. The report argues the games were “in a sense, sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing,” and recommends the International Olympic Committee bar Russian athletes from competing until the country cleans up its act.

WADA’s 11-month investigation did not find direct evidence of government involvement, but the report said “it would be naive in the extreme to conclude that activities on the scale discovered could have occurred without the explicit or tacit approval of Russian governmental authorities,” the New York Times reports.

But Butov denied claims from Dick Pound, who led the WADA investigation, alleging that ARAF refused to cooperate with the investigation. “Firstly, nobody from the commission contacted the federation during the last months,” Butov said. “Nobody contacted the interim president, nobody contacted myself. They have never contacted us.”


More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com