ST PETERSBURG: FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Saturday vowed that there will be disciplinary proceedings opened against Russia if the doping allegations surrounding their team at the 2014 World Cup are proven.
Following World-Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigations on state-sponsored doping of Russian athletes and the resultant McLaren report which saw their track and field athletes banned from the Olympics, the country’s footballers have now come under fire with the Mail on Sunday last week reporting that all members of their 23-man squad for Brazil has been implicated on doping offences.
There have also been accusations that urine and blood samples taken from players in Russia have been doctored, with salt and water added to return a negative test.
“The tests are done outside Russia in WADA-accredited laboratories,” Infantino said at the closing news conference for the FIFA Confederations Cup. “What will be done afterwards will be disciplinary procedures if the tests turn out to be positive. I can assure you that this isn’t FIFA or Russia conducting the tests.
“The McLaren report is about the  Sochi Olympics and athletics and it isn’t about football. They have said that samples were tampered. If it comes out that the samples of the Russia World Cup squad were tampered, there will be action. All players at the World Cup were tested at WADA’s accredited laboratory in Lausanne.”
He added there were no doping concerns surrounding the teams at the Confederations Cup, which is the dress rehearsal for next year’s World Cup.
“Samples from all players participating at the tournament were taken and tested at WADA-accredited laboratories. I understand that some people expect sanctions but that can’t be because all the tests were negative.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has two simultaneous investigations being carried out over allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia – one by French judge and IOC ethics commission vice-chairman Guy Canivet and Swiss IOC member Denis Oswald.
However, Russia’s deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko denied any such thing existed.
“We have responded to the McLaren report and others,” he said, sitting alongside Infantino. “We have created an anti-doing system which has been accredited by WADA. But you have to understand that for these big tournaments, it’s IOC and FIFA who are incharge of doping controls. As far as Sochi is concerned, samples were taken from there to WADA laboratories and we don’t know what happened there.”
He added that Russia had taken retrospective action.
“We have agreed that our doping system failed and required reform,” he said. “We signed with the WADA roadmap and held fresh elections in federations which had most doping violations.”
Mutko called it a paradox that some samples of Russian athletes were checked four to five years after competition before being stripped of their medals.
“It’s a contradictory situation,” he said. “It’s after five years that you find there has been doping. Why do you check after five years? We have zero tolerance towards doping.”
Mutko, who was Russia’s Minister for Sport during the time the country’s doping scandal came to the fore, added that football players were definitely clean.
“We have our players playing in European club competitions and six Russian clubs always feature in the Champions League and the Europa League where they give samples before and after matches,” he said.
“The point is that it isn’t us taking the samples yet there are allegations that we have tampered with the samples. So far, there are no facts on doping.”