Russian athletics chief says German documentary ‘a pack of lies’

Programme claimed 99 per cent of the Russian Olympic team were doping

A German TV documentary alleging widespread doping and cover-ups among Russian athletes contains "a pack of lies", according to Russia's Athletics Federation president Valentin Balakhnichev.

The documentary screened on the TV network MDR on Wednesday alleged not only that up to 99 per cent of the Russian Olympic team were doping, but also that a network of corruption has been put in place to cover up positive tests, involving officials at the Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada), the doping control laboratory in Moscow, as well as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Balakhnichev said: “I can say that there are a pack of lies and it is an unfair account. I will be able to give a more accurate and fuller commentary later in the day once we have studied the situation further.”

Rusada said there was nothing to support the allegations; the managing director Nikita Kamaev telling the R-Sport Agency: "They do not have the facts or the documents to support any offences . . . In terms of the television programme, I have not seen it, as I do not understand German well enough. Therefore I am not able to comment."


The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said in a statement that it would ensure any pertinent matters raised in the documentary would be fully investigated, adding: “Wada has, in fact, already received some information and evidence of the type exposed in the documentary. All of that information has been passed to the appropriate independent body within the IAAF. We will await the outcome of that independent body’s deliberations.

“In so far as the particular allegations against Russian authorities and others are concerned, these will all be carefully scrutinised and if action is warranted, Wada will take any necessary and appropriate steps.”

The IAAF said it had taken note of a "number of grave allegations" in the film, with an investigation by its independent Ethics Commission ongoing.

“We would like to underline that the IAAF Ethics Commission is completely independent of the IAAF and has full powers to investigate and issue sanctions when relevant. A transcript in English of the German TV documentary has been forwarded to the Ethics Commission.

“With regard to matters revealed in the documentary related to anti-doping and therefore, outside the scope of the Ethics Commission, these will be studied carefully and dealt with according to the relevant IAAF rules and in full co-operation with Wada.”