Every doping probe of Russian national football team players before and during the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Rio was negative, the FIFA press service told TASS on Sunday.
Late on Saturday, Daily Mail chief sports news correspondent Nick Harris published a story revealing “every member of Russia’s World Cup team is under investigation in a doping probe that shames football.”
The piece claimed the entire 23-man Russia squad for Rio 2014 “and a further 11 current professional footballers are on a list of more than 1,000 ‘people of interest,’” and that four Russia players are currently playing for their country in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
On Monday, however, the press office for FIFA, world football’s governing body, told TASS that in fact every player’s doping test had in fact given negative results.
“As far as the FIFA Confederations Cup is concerned, every participating player has been tested through blood and urine in unannounced controls. Both the results of the unannounced and the post-match tests have been negative so far,” FIFA’s press service said, TASS reported.
“Furthermore, all players participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup – including all members of the Russian squad – underwent pre-competition and post-match tests, all of which were negative.
“FIFA was in charge of the tests and sent all samples to be analysed by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne. The same procedure is currently being applied for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017.”
FIFA told TASS that the organization was, “in close collaboration,” investigating allegations involving football players in the McLaren report but that it did not refer to any players directly, as such conduct would breach protocol.
The doping probe claims raised concern as Russia will host the FIFA 2018 World Cup. However, Director General of the Russia-2018 Local Organizing Committee (LOC), Alexei Sorokin dismissed the claims on Monday, calling the news “fake.”
“My first emotion was: that’s good that the media outlet writes about such things – it means that the tournament is going on smoothly, problem-free. But to be serious, it is strange that such reports appear now as it is obvious that the news is fake,” Sorokin said, TASS reported.
“We received an answer from FIFA that all doping tests were negative. I don’t see anything to discuss. There have been not a single doping-related incident in Russian football. So, it’s better discuss some other problems,” he stressed.