ZURICH: FIFA has found itself in a war of words over accusations of slow progress in investigating Russian doping in football writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Jim Walden, the United States lawyer of Grigory Rodchenkov, has described the world football federation as an “ostrich” for failing to make contact over the whistleblower’s knowledge gained from his time as head of the Moscow testing laboratory.
However sources for FIFA have insisted that an initial approach was ignored and that now, in any case, it was waiting in a queue of sports while the World Anti-Doping Agency prioritised investigations into potential competitors at next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
A FIFA spokesman said it had asked WADA and Professor Richard McLaren, who conducted a damning report into Russian sports doping, to question Rodchenkov on its behalf. However it had been told on November 22 that Rodchenkov was not then available.
WADA had reportedly told FIFA that the analysis of its evidential store of football samples could not begin until the middle of this month, once retesting of samples from the 2014 Sochi Winter Games had been completed.
Players who featured Russia’s 23-man squad at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil had been identified originally by McLaren, on the basis of the evidence provided by Rodchenkov.