SPORT

Russia denies doping accusations against national football team

RUSSIA DENIES DOPING ACCUSATIONS AGAINST NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM

Russian deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko on Sunday shrugged off a report that the country's entire 2014 World Cup squad was under FIFA investigation for doping.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, in charge of sport matters in the country, on Sunday denied allegations the country's football team had been involved in a state-sponsored doping programme.

In the national team, "there has never been and will never be doping," Mutko told state news agency TASS. "Our national team is constantly checked. There is doping control at every match."

The British Mail on Sunday newspaper reported world football governing body FIFA was investigating whether Russian players used banned performance-enhancing drugs during the 2014 World Cup.

"There is no need to read the English newspapers," Mutko said. "They are writing rubbish."

Russia is currently hosting the Confederations Cup, a test run for next year's more prestigious World Cup, which it will also host. The home team exited in the group stage after a loss to Mexico on Saturday.

Two reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency found at least 1,000 athletes were involved in a state-sponsored doping programme. The Russian athletics federation has been suspended by the sport governing body IAAF, missing out on the Rio Olympics last year.

The Mail on Sunday claims FIFA is assessing whether all 23 members of Russia's squad at the 2014 World Cup were involved in the doing programme. Five members of that group are part of the current squad.

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