A German broadcast alleging the Russian state helped cover-up sports doping has been described as "shocking" by German Olympic sports head Michael Vesper. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has denied involvement.
Vesper, who was guest on a German ARD public television talk show that followed the channel's film expose late Wednesday, said he would expect "consequences" in the run-up to Rio Olympics.
Russia, whose own athletics federation was suspended last year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), is currently trying to prove it has rid itself of doping cheats so it can send its athletes to Rio in August.
The IAAF is due to decide on 17 June. Russia on Wednesday denied persistent "state-controlled doping."
ARD's documentary film contained an email exchange, allegedly within Russian sports ministry circles, suggesting that Mutko would have been consulted in 2014 over the doping agent Hexarelin in laboratory readings for a Russian first division football player.
The ARD broadcast, "Secret Doping: Showdown for Russia," when translated into English, also showed footage of what it said were two Russian coaches still training top Russian athletes although both were banned because of past doping offences.
Vesper (pictured above), who is chairman of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) said on Wednesday's subsequent talk show "Maischberger": "I think the film is shocking."
"It must result in that there are consequences," Vesper said.
"It shows: doping destroys the esteem of sport, the trust in sport; the values of sports and the athletes who use it," Vesper added.
'Unfounded,' says Russia
Prior to Wednesday evening's ARD broadcast, the Interfax news agency quoted Mutko as claiming that the aim of the ARD report was to sway the IAAF against Russia's athletics federation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said doping allegations had to be supported by evidence and unfounded accusations would be treated as "absolute slander."
The Sports Ministry said Russian had agreed on a reform program with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Rules 'very clear'
ARD doping expert Hajo Seppelt, one of three authors of the ARD documentary, had told Deutsche Welle earlier on Wednesday that he still had "very big concerns on the credibility of the Russian athletics team."
"The responsibility for the whole mess is not caused by the IAAF or the international federation. It's caused by the national federation, the Russian Athletics Federation. They are responsible.
"The rules are very clear. If the [Russian] federation cannot guarantee that the athletes are clean, then the federation cannot compete at the Olympics."
Former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Richard Pound told Seppelt that evidence presented in the documentary made it significantly more difficult to accept that Russia's athletics federation had rectified the situation.
ipj/bw (SID, Reuters, dpa, AP)