Russian doping whistle-blower raises fears over Russia World Cup legitimacy

Vladimir Putin’s strong-arm tactics of suppressing opposition within and outside of Russia stretches to sport, as Rodchenkov’s evidence to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) shows. (AFP)
Updated 31 May 2018

Russian doping whistle-blower raises fears over Russia World Cup legitimacy

LONDON: Whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov has raised fears over the legitimacy of Russia’s World Cup team after revealing one unnamed player among their provisional squad is familiar to him from his time running the nation’s state-sponsored doping program.
Saudi Arabia kick-off the 2018 World Cup on June 14 with the hosts under a cloud of political and sporting controversy which threatens to spoil their party.
Vladimir Putin’s strong-arm tactics of suppressing opposition within and outside of Russia stretches to sport, as Rodchenkov’s evidence to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) led to the publishing of the McLaren Report in 2016 which revealed the country’s widespread doping across a number of sports.
As a result, Rodchenkov is under witness protection in the US under fear of his life, and spoke via Skype to the Sports, Politics and Integrity Conference in London on Thursday from a secret location and with his face obscured by a balaclava.
The former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory, which was responsible for covering up positive tests, most famously before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, knew of 34 footballers who tested positive for corticosteroids.
Rodchenkov said that former Sports Minister and head of the Russian Football Union Vitaly Mutko told him: “Football must be protected. Don’t touch football players. If you have any problems report to me immediately. There were 34 footballers who tested positive. These positives ‘disappeared’.
“There were 34 footballers listed in the doping control program, playing at junior, under-23, ladies and senior levels. It’s very important that they are still being investigated because we had initial tests but then the procedure was stopped and reported negative.
“I recognize only one name from the list for the national team.”
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov is still to trim his 28-man squad to the final 23, which means the player familiar to Rodchenkov could be omitted but with just two weeks to go until the tournament, the uncertainty is perhaps the most concerning aspect.
Rodchenkov admits that doping in football pales in comparison to weightlifting and athletics and expects a “clean” World Cup with no positive tests because, “it will only be foreign doping control.”
But he also claimed that FIFA were far from thorough when examining evidence he presented to them in the wake of the McLaren Report. Last week FIFA ruled the 34 positive tests flagged had been re-tested and found to be clean by their lab in Lausanne.
Rodchenkov added: “I received a list of questions from FIFA, 60 of them.
“I didn’t have detailed information for some but I answered all of the questions. Seemingly FIFA were satisfied and there were no follow-up questions.”


England-Pakistan: ICC to use front foot no-ball tech for first time in test cricket

Updated 05 August 2020

England-Pakistan: ICC to use front foot no-ball tech for first time in test cricket

  • Responsibility to call no-balls when a bowler oversteps the mark currently lies with on-field umpires
  • Under new system TV umpire will monitor landing foot after each ball and tell umpires whether it was legal delivery

MANCHESTER: Front foot no-ball technology will be used for the first time on a trial basis in test cricket during the three-match series between England and Pakistan starting later on Wednesday, the International Cricket Council has said.
The responsibility to call no-balls when a bowler oversteps the mark currently lies with on-field umpires, but under the new system the TV umpire will monitor the landing foot after each ball and communicate to the umpires whether it was a legal delivery.
“Front foot no ball technology to be used in ICC World Test Championship series featuring England and Pakistan, with the support of both teams,” the world governing body tweeted.
“Performance of the technology in these tests will be reviewed before any decisions taken on its future use in test cricket.”
The ICC has already conducted successful trials of the technology across men’s 50-over international matches while it was also used at the women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year.
However, the governing body wants to ascertain the benefits of its use in the longest format of the game before deciding whether to widen its use.
England will host Pakistan in the three-test series at bio-secure venues in Manchester and Southampton.