KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Richard McLaren has said he is still ‘several months’ away from delivering his final report into state-sponsored doping in Russia.
This will come as a nasty shock the winter sports federations as well as to president Thomas Bach and his International Olympic Committee.
The executive board had been due to review in December its ‘freeze’ on Russian event hosting but McLaren’s cautions comments at the side of a sport ethics conference in Zurich* cast international sport’s timescale into doubt.
McLaren was commissioned last spring by the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate claims about endemic Russian doping corruption from former Moscow laboratory chief Grigory Rodchenkov after an earlier report following the revelations of whistleblower Yulia Stepanova.
The Canadian’s interim report threw Olympic sport into chaos ahead of the Rio 2016 Games and it had initially been thought that his final conclusions would be available to WADA’s executive committee meeting in Lausanne next week.
McLaren indicated today that this was not the case. His comments suggested that the more he investigated the more he discovered and so the more time he still needed.
Suspicions and concerns about the management of Russian sport – including multi-tasking Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko – will thus continue to cast a shadow in the run-up to the country’s hosting of football’s World Cup in 2018.
Asked about the timing of publication, McLaren said: “A date is not established. We are in the second phase of the investigation that’s directed primarily at the information we have on athletes and providing that information – once our analyses are completed – to the various international federations.
“Then it will be up to them to take action but that’s their decision not mine. My role is to report to them. We will also report on information we have that we didn’t have time to analyse in the last report and see if it makes the picture bigger or clearer.
“It’s at least several months away.”
McLaren also said that the complexity of the fight against doping meant it could be up to 10 years before anyone could be certain that the competition results from the recent Rio 2016 Olympics could be accepted as ‘clean.’
He said: “The idea behind storing samples for 10 years is because you might develop nww methodologies or refine the ones you already have and be able to identify things you were not capable of identifying at the time. London 2012 was a good example of that.”
** The 2nd World Summit on Ethics and Leadership was organised by the World Forum for Ethics in Business in cooperation with the International Association for Human Values, Marti Communications and TLEX Ltd at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
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