ZURICH: World football federation FIFA has reportedly cautioned the Russian FA that three unidentified players, two men and a woman, are under investigation for historic doping offences in 2013.

The Russia Interfax news agency quoted the Russian Football Union as confirming the report and stating that none of the three had ever played for the senior national teams though this did not exclude them having been selected for squads.

In November 2017 the then Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, described claims of doping among his country’s footballers as a deliberate attempt to discredit Russia.

A year earlier a World Anti-Doping Agency report from Canadian law professor Richard McLaren alleged institutionalised doping in Russian sport and identified football as one of the spheres in which drug tests had been covered up.

The McLaren Report stated evidence of 155 suspicious dope tests of Russian footballers in and around 2014. No Russian player has ever failed a dope test at either World Cup or European Championship.

Russian internationals teams have been barred by WADA from competing at major world events, including the Olympic Games, under the country’s flag until December 2022.