Participants talk before the start of the World Anti-Doping Agency symposium for Anti-Doping Organisations in Lausanne. Picture: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE
Participants talk before the start of the World Anti-Doping Agency symposium for Anti-Doping Organisations in Lausanne. Picture: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE

Moscow — Russian athletics coaches "don’t understand how to work without doping", Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) extended a ban on the country’s world championships team.

Russia has been barred from international track and field competition since November 2015, following a damning report alleging state-sponsored doping in Russia in Olympic sports over several years.

Moscow denies any state role in doping but Mutko, who was promoted from sports minister to deputy prime minister despite the doping controversy, pointed the finger on Tuesday at Russia’s athletics coaches.

The tainted All-Russia Athletic Federation (Araf), "had a lot of [doping] violations", he said. "Athletes broke rules and many coaches don’t understand how to work without doping — it’s time for them to retire."

Mutko said Russia, which insists that drug cheating is an international issue, was cleaning up its act. "Over the past year, we have done a massive amount of work," he said.

"They [IAAF] tell us: ‘you have done great work but there is still a lot to be done [to stop Russian doping]. That happens when there aren’t clear criteria, clear regulations," he said.

Araf deputy chief Andrei Silnov said he was buoyed by IAAF comments that while Russia was not ready to return to the fold, it recognised "several positive developments". "They don’t have any serious grudges against us," he said.

AFP

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