No Evidence of Doping Among Russian Soccer Players: FIFA

Russia has rejected allegations it has run a state-sponsored doping program and elaborately covered up its athletes’ positive tests at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

FIFA rejected Sunday a British media report alleging doping cover-ups among Russian national team soccer players, saying it had not found any evidence of doping among Russia’s players as the country hosts the World Cup finals.

OPINION: The Biased Report That Led to Banning Russian Athletes

Reiterating a statement it made last month, FIFA said: “insufficient evidence was found to assert an anti-doping rule violation by any footballer.”

It added that the investigations opened against players named to Russia’s preliminary squad last month had been closed.

Rubin Kazan defender Ruslan Kambolov, investigated by FIFA over alleged doping violations, was named in Russia’s preliminary squad last month but later sustained an injury and was left out of the final selection.

“In the course of the investigations FIFA looked at every possible evidence, leaving no stone unturned,” the global soccer governing body said.

FIFA launched investigations into possible anti-doping violations by Russian soccer players after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found that more than 1,000 Russian competitors across more than 30 sports — including soccer — were involved in an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests.

The country’s athletics federation, its anti-doping agency RUSADA and its Paralympic committee remain suspended over doping allegations.

  • Published in Sports

Did the CIA Sabotage Russia at the Olympics?

It makes no logical sense that an athlete would do a one-time consumption of a chemical that is of no value in circumstances where it is almost certain to be detected with huge negative consequences.

That is precisely the situation. The Russian Mixed Curling bronze medal winner, Alexander Krushelnitsky, had to give up his medal, plus that of his partner wife, because traces of meldonium were found in his urine sample. He had previously tested clean. Meldonium is a medication which helps keep the heart healthy by increasing blood flow. That would be of no benefit in a sport like curling which requires accuracy, strategy and focus but is not taxing physically. The “sweeping” to help guide the rock down the ice lasts only 20 seconds or less. International curlers were astounded at the news and bemused at the idea of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) for curling. The skip of the Danish curling team said ”I think most people will laugh and ask, ‘what could you possibly need doping for?”

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Krushelnitsky (image on the right) strongly denies taking banned drugs.

“I am categorically opposed to doping …. never, at any time that I have been involved in sport, have I ever used prohibited substances”.

Similar curious circumstances apply in the second ADRV.  Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva had numerous negative (clean) tests before she was tested positive for banned trimetazidine.  Bobsledding is another sport which requires physical and mental skill but not physical endurance.

In the February 25 IOC meeting to close the Peyongchang Winter Games, the head of the IOC Implementation Group, Nicole Hoevertz, said the Russian athletes had been tested “more than any other athletes”. She and her group were convinced that the 168 member Russian athletic team was clean. At about 35:00 in the video, she says the two Russian doping violations were “very peculiar.” She introduced the Director of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission, Dr. Bludgett, to provide more detail. He suggested that meldonium would not be of benefit in curling. He then went further and suggested the ADRV regarding trimetazidine may be in error. He said trimetazidine “is a substance where there is a parent compound which is a common headache migraine treatment available particularly in China and Japan and if that is found then it is not considered an ADRV. And if there is a very low level, as there was in this case, that is a possibility.”

Image result for Nadezhda Sergeeva

Sergeeva (image on the left) denies ever taking banned drugs and even went on social media
with a T-shirt declaring her commitment to clean sport.

In summary, it seems highly unlikely that two different Russian athletes would intentionally take medications that have no benefit but which are almost guaranteed to be detected resulting in huge harm to them and their team.

Who Benefits?

Another possibility is that meldonium or trimetazidine powder was surreptitiously put in the food of the athletes. This one time consumption would cause a positive test.

In fact there are forces on the international scene who are pleased that Russia has been battling defamation and charges of “state sponsored doping” for the past two years. They want the current denigration and punishments of Russia to continue, perhaps influencing Russia’s upcoming national election and undermining Russia’s hosting of the Football World Cup this summer.

One such group is the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA has a long history of big and small criminal deeds. Presumably it would not be difficult for them to infiltrate Olympic facilities or bribe a corrupt individual to put traces of meldonium or another powder in someone’s food or drink.

Those who quickly dismiss this possibility probably also thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in 2002. That was a false claim supported by evidence fabricated by the CIA.

It is well documented the CIA carries out murders, coups and major sabotage. The CIA has documented some of their methods in “The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception”. They don’t just carry out assassinations and coups. In the book “In Search of Enemies”, former CIA officer John Stockwell documented how the CIA created a false story about Cuban soldiers raping Angolan women to defame Cuba.

Corrupt police forces sometimes plant evidence on a suspect they wish to convict. It would be essentially the same thing to get a Russian athlete to ingest spiked food or beverage. The CIA has motive and expressed intent:

  • In contrast with Russian leaders who call the US a “partner”, US officials increasingly call Russia an “adversary”. The latest US National Security Strategy explicitly says they intend to respond to Russia as an adversary: “ The United States will respond to the growing political, economic and military competitions we face around the world. China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.”

  • Despite the lack of clear evidence, there is widespread belief that Russia “meddled” in the US election. The anti-Russia sentiment has been fanned into the exaggerated claim that the unproven Russian action was “an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare”.
  • Neoconservatives forces openly talk about “punishing” Russia. The former Deputy Director of the CIA, Michael Morrell, said “We need to make the Russians pay a price” . He confirmed on public television that means killing Russians (and Iranians) in Syria. This is the 33 year veteran CIA leader who publicly campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

Did the CIA plant the doping evidence? We don’t know for certain but it should not be dismissed out of hand. The CIA has the means, opportunity and above all the motive to falsely implicate Russians in new doping cases with the goal of preventing Russia from getting beyond the international sporting sanctions and punishments.  They have done vastly more deceitful, manipulative, and outrageous things than this.

Media Bias

Unfortunately, western media will not investigate this possibility. Western media cannot even accurately report on events like the IOC meeting yesterday. The fact that the head of the IOC Implementation Group warmly praised the Russian participation at the Peyongchang Olympics is not mentioned in western media. The fact that Dr. Bludgett raised questions about the accuracy of the ADRVs against Russia is not mentioned in reports from NY Times, the UK Guardian or Inside the Games. Instead, the writer at Inside the Games once again exaggerated the voice of critics of Russia as he downplayed the voices of international athletes who want to put the doping scandal behind and move forward.

Western media have reported deceptively that the Russian athletes have “admitted” to the violations. In fact, both Russian athletes strongly deny taking banned drugs.

Western media bias is also shown in the focus on alleged Russian doping and minimization or ignoring of other possible violations. For example the story about the Norwegian cross-country ski team and their use of banned asthmatic medications. They get around the restrictions by having their doctor claim that most of their athletes are asthmatic. This situation is a result of the inconsistent rules and regulations. A Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)  can be given to any athlete designated by a doctor and in secrecy. They are not required to publicly disclose this, giving incentive to corruption and misuse.

Richard McLaren’s Bias

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The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has also been biased. Over one year ago, their investigator Richard McLaren (image on the right) claimed “over one thousand Russian athletes benefited” from the alleged Russian conspiracy to cheat the ant-doping system. McLaren said the proof would be provided to the various sport federations. In September 2017 it was revealed that charges had been filed against 96 athletes. Of these, WADA cleared 95 athletes of wrongdoing; only one athlete was proven to be in violation. More recently, the Court of Arbitration in Sport completely overturned the bans on 28 Russian athletes. In summary, it appears that McLaren’s accusation about “over one thousand athletes benefiting” was a huge exaggeration or fabrication.

Where Do Things Go From Here?

The IOC Executive Board has indicated they intend to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee if no more “anti doping rule violations” are found in the last batch of athlete samples from the Peyongchang Olympics. The results are expected in a few days.

Another ADRV may appear. If so, that will greatly complicate the effort to reintegrate Russian athletics. Even if the final tests are all clean, those who oppose Russia will continue trying to delay or prevent the full integration of Russia within the world sporting Community.

The former Moscow Laboratory Director Grigory Rodchenkov is the primary weapon in the campaign accusing Russia of “state sponsored doping”. “Icarus” is a movie about him which has received huge funding and promotion. It is nominated for an an Oscar Academy award. This will serve the campaign well.

The Russian have been accused of trying to murder Rodchenkov  But if he suddenly dies one day, it is more likely to be by the CIA.  At this point, Rodchenkov has done all the damage he can to Russian sports. The only thing he could possibly do is to recant or fall apart. His handlers have prevented him from appearing before the various committees looking into the accusations. At this point, Rodchenkov could be more valuable dead than alive. His death would be a powerful weapon to disrupt the normalization of relations with Russia.

In conclusion, going back to the Peyonchang Olympics, there should be caution before assuming the guilt of the Russian athletes who received ADRVs. It makes no sense that two Russian athletes would take useless medications knowing they will be tested and found out.

The doping incident serves the interests of those in the West who seek more not less conflict and seek to weaken Russia through “hybrid” warfare. It is possible the CIA has a hand in the latest incidents, just as they have a hand in Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov. They have the means, opportunity and motive. They have the experience and history.

If this is true, it’s another example of the dangerous descent in international relations. The Olympics movement has the goal of fostering peaceful relations. The sad truth is there are forces who want to prevent that. They prefer to demonize and divide in a quest for economic and geopolitical supremacy over “adversaries”. International sports is just another arena for them.

  • Published in Sports

On World Records and Doping: Sotomayor and Yipsi have the Floor.

We are witnessing an athletic revolution as a crusade war against doping, especially in the track and field. Some Cuban athletes offer their views on the subject to CubaSi.

On a proposal by the EAA (European Athletics Association), in the voice of its president Norwegian Svein Arne Hansen, it came to light the idea of removing all world records set before 2005. Such initiative has the support of IAAF current president Sebastian Coe.

As soon as the proposal was aired, athletes and federations from all over the world have reacted.

We are talking about doubts in 30 out of the 43 European records…

If such a thing was not enough, 111 new cases have tested positive in the reanalysis carried out to the samples of Beijing 2008 and London 2012, according to the latest data released by the IOC last April 24th.

Regarding this tsunami associated to doping and doubtful records, which is disapproved by many of the current protagonists, the Cuban Olympic Committee took a stand. Cuba has two world record holders before that date, high jumper Javier Sotomayor 2.43m (indoor in 1998) and 2.45m (outdoor in 1993), and javelin thrower Osleidys Menendez (71.54m in 2001 and 71.74m in 2005).

“Scientific arguments should be given to approve a decision of this kind. It will be only fair if we prove it scientifically. Removing records because you have doubts is nonsense. Those world-record holders are not guilty that samples —at that time— could not be preserved to present times to be tested again”.

Even though the intention is to eradicate any suspicions triggered by the magnitude of certain times and marks, as well as the shameful episodes experienced in the sports, nothing would justify this crusade with no arguments.

We back, of course, any step taken with the help of the available scientific upgrade. We also support all the preventive actions, which seem to be not enough amidst ills such as excessive commercialization, talent drain, nationalization for convenience, and other evils that foster the premise of winning at all costs…” the Cuban Olympic Committee subscribed in an official statement.

VOICES FIRST HAND

Javier Sotomayor, world-record holder in high jump and one of the possible athletes affected if the IAAF congress passes the proposal put forth by Europe, commented to CubaSi:

“I believe excessive the proposal of the European Association. With no scientific basis, a series of records cannot be jeopardized. In my personal view, if my record were to be removed from the IAAF books, I would feel world-record holder as before until someone jumps up to the 2.46m.

It certainly generates uncertainty. Some of us feel awkward, questioned with this situation. The goal is to put into question the results of several athletes. So many years of efforts, sacrifices, jumps, and hard training cannot be jettisoned. I am against condemning to oblivion relevant figures who have given prestige to track and field throughout the years. I am not opposed to the right fight against doping. It is a scourge and any action to reverse it is laudable. However, as there is no scientific evidence, it seems something hasty to me”.

Yipsi Moreno, former hammer thrower who was among the elite of her discipline for three Olympic cycles, was one of those sports athletes who benefitted with the gold medal in Beijing 2008, after Belarus Aksana Miankona tested positive in a reanalysis. The truth is that Yipsi is well-involved in Cuban athletics and she agreed to air her opinion in the Barrientos Memorial.

“I do not agree with this project. I believe that records of such magnitude, if not proven fraudulent, we would be depriving those stars of shine and validity. If you set a record and everyone can break it later…where is the exceptional nature of the record, then?”

Can you picture in your mind that what Usain Bolt does can be done by anyone? Much has been said about the possibility he has been under the effects of doping. In fact, if the samples are tested in a period of ten years, and you do not detect it, you can break the history, his image, and stop motivations and aspirations of many.

How did Yipsi coexist with the doping phenomena? What made you exceptional without using any drugs?

Despite consuming those drugs, athletes have their raw talent. There have been cases of drugged athletes who have maintained their levels of mediocrity. I bet to my star, my sacrifice, and raw talent. I am happy to have won some medals and being in the elite of my sports discipline without cheating.

I would penalize those cheaters in sports with sanctions ranging from 4 years to a lifetime ban. The best example is Russian Tatyana Lysenko, twice exposed.

Cuban athletics have always been in a very good position regarding doping. How would Yipsi assess the past and present times?

“It affected you in the past. But it is not the end of the world. Now and then, there is lack of control, discipline. It is true there are drugs harder to find than others. But in the end, this phenomenon of cheating benefits one, two…perhaps many. But cheaters will be always caught”.

THE HURRICANE EYE

A truly Pandora’s Box, the so-called King of sports is the second with more positive alerts reported after weightlifting. 48 athletes have been caught thanks to these reanalysis. Russia is drawing the attention. Banned since 2015 by the IAAF, the doping issue goes beyond that country. We let you analyze and see the proposal that is being discussed these days as well as its possible implications.

In January, the Executive Committee of the European Athletics Association (EAA) named a special team to reanalyze European records. The IAAF joined the project. After four months of work, such group has proposed four criteria of record recognition from now on:

1) The performance is achieved at competitions on a list of approved international events where the highest standards of officiating and technical equipment can be guaranteed,

2) The athlete has been subject to an agreed number of doping control tests in the months leading up to the performance and

3) The doping control sample taken after the record is stored and available for re-testing for 10 years.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

Jamaican Sprinter Usain Bolt Cleared of 'False' Doping Reports

The global Olympic authority re-tested samples from the 2008 games and found that Jamaican athlete did not "abuse" clenbuterol.

The International Olympic Committee said it had not detected any significant abuse of clenbuterol after finding "very low levels" of the banned substance during retesting of samples from the Beijing Olympics, as Jamaican officials slammed the reports of abuse as “outright false.”

RELATED: Bolt Makes Olympic History

The International Olympic Committee's comments Monday came one day after German broadcaster ARD reported that traces of the banned substance were found in samples provided by members of the Jamaican sprint team at the Games in 2008.

Jamaica won 10 medals in the sprint events led by Usain Bolt, who took gold in the men's 100 and 200 meters.

In a statement, the IOC said that "very low levels of clenbuterol" were found in the cases of athletes from a number of countries and different sports. It said the athletes were innocent and could not give any more details.

Without mentioning Jamaica or the ARD allegations, the IOC said that all values were "in the range of potential meat contamination cases". It said it "carefully deliberated" whether or not to proceed with the cases and consulted the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA.

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According to the IOC, WADA said it could not find "any significant and consistent pattern of abuse of clenbuterol in these cases and that it would be appropriate not to take these cases any further."

Jamaican officials said they hoped the IOC and WADA would set the record straight with regard to the ARD report. "I think some of the innuendoes and assertions have been unfortunate, if not outright false, and hopefully these will be corrected by the IOC and WADA in due course,” Jamaica Olympic Association president Mike Fennell told Reuters.

“It is clear that there are many people in the world that want to get at Jamaica because some of them feel that we have been far too successful and we do not deserve to be successful," Fennell added.

RELATED: Russia Doping Allegations Politicize Olympic Games

"They cannot believe that this little country can produce so many superstars and they are trying to find some way to damage that. Our athletes are clean and we respect the anti-doping rules."

Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, also questioned if the report was aimed "at trying to destroy Jamaica's good name."

The IOC stores samples for a decade to test with newer methods or for new substances. It ordered re-tests of samples from Beijing in the run-up to last year's Rio Olympics to try and root out drug cheats.

Clenbuterol is a performance-enhancing substance sometimes found in weight-loss pills and is on the WADA banned list.

Jamaica were stripped of the Beijing 4x100 meters gold medal in January when Nesta Carter was found in retests of his sample to have taken the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. The whole relay team lost their medals as a result, including Bolt.

  • Published in Sports
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