WADA investigator Richard McLaren has said that he believes Russian football had a separate system to conceal positive drug tests. He is the author of two reports pointing to state-sponsored doping in Russian sports.
In an interview with German broadcaster ARD that was due to be broadcast later on Wednesday, Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren said that that 155 urine samples seized by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) could be part of an effort to cover up doping in Russian football. He said the samples were still waiting analysis and that football's world governing body, FIFA, had been informed of their existence.
"That gives rise to a suspicion: One that there is a bank of clean samples and that it's been used with respect to footballers," McLaren said. "Either there's been tampering with the caps, so that contents could have been changed or the contents haven't been changed but there may be prohibited substances in there."
The ARD report comes a few days after British weekly "Mail on Sunday" reported that all 23 members of the Russia's 2014 World Cup squad were under investigation over possible involvement in state-sponsored doping.
FIFA responded to the "Mail on Sunday" report by saying that it was looking into the matter. McLaren, though, said there was enough evidence to warrant the appointment of a special investigator. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is reponsible for sports in the country, rejected the allegation.
The report posted on the ARD website said that one of the 155 samples involved a current Russian international player, with emails between Russian officials from 2015 suggesting that the player in question had tested positive for a banned stimulant and that the sample was to be swapped.
There was no immediate comment on the latest report from FIFA or the Russian sports ministry.
These revelations come as Russia hosts the Confederations Cup, which wraps up on Sunday and a year before the country hosts football's premiere event, the World Cup.
McLaren released two WADA-commissioned reports last year, which outlined evidence of wide-ranging state-sponsored doping in top-level Russian sports, implicating around 1,000 athletes. Russia has also denied these allegations.
pfd/mf (dpa, Reuters, SID)