Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup and FIFA’s uncritical stance on the nation’s state doping scam have come under fresh fire from the most senior member of the International Olympic Committee and most prominent anti-doping expert.
Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the longest-serving current IOC member, accuses FIFA of failing to do enough to investigate Russian drug cheating in football, saying: ‘FIFA has been sublimely reluctant to do anything about the situation.’
This comes as the Mail on Sunday reveals that FIFA and WADA have begun openly to blame each other for lack of progress on cases involving alleged Russian footballer cheats.
Dick Pound, the longest-serving current IOC member, has slammed the 2018 Russia World Cup
Pound says the credibility of the 2018 World Cup will be in doubt if FIFA cannot properly investigate evidence that the Russian national football teams were part of the national doping scandal which has seen Russia banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
With FIFA and WADA engaged in a turf war over who has responsibility to clear up the mess — with months more stalemate apparently ahead — Pound has called on FIFA to take much swifter action.
‘There’s absolutely no reason on the face of the planet that it should take months,’ he told the MoS. ‘They have the data. It’s quite simple to determine whether or not you have a case of doping if you want to.’
The Russian drugs saga has placed FIFA president Gianni Infantino in an invidious position. If FIFA act quickly (finally, a year after first having names of cheats) and find wrongdoing, and have to ban Russian players or take sanctions against the Russian federation, it will be a massive embarrassment.
Russia would be humiliated if star players from an already poor Russia team were found at fault and punished just as they are about to host the World Cup.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino now finds himself in a tight spot as the World Cup approaches
If multiple ‘convictions’ arose, of players or indeed the Russian FA, FIFA would be under pressure to exclude the host nation from their own World Cup.
But with FIFA maintaining that Russia Deputy Prime Minister and former Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko can keep his position as chair of Russia 2018 despite the fact that he is now banned for life from the Olympics for his part in the doping scandal, Pound claims that if FIFA don’t act over alleged Russian football doping before the World Cup, the tournament’s credibility is in question.
He said: ‘I think that would add to the general concern to the fairness of the whole tournament and the awarding of it in the first place and whatever role Vitaly Mutko played in getting it and being the chair of the World Cup 2018.’
FIFA claim they are being held back by WADA, saying WADA are dictating how and when key steps will be taken, including new evidence from whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov and performing…