Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has slammed a joint statement from 19 National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADO) calling for all sporting competitions, including the FIFA World Cup in 2018, to be removed from his country until it apologises for its alleged state-sponsored drug programme.

Mutko was previously president of the Russian s FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, and is also the President of the Russian Football Union.

In a hard-hitting Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) statement published yesterday following a meeting in Dublin, representatives from countries including Germany, Japan and the United States called for Russians to be banned from competing under their own flag at any sporting event.

They also called for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to immediately take over every aspect of the investigation and disciplinary process currently being spearheaded by the International Olympic Committee and other governing bodies.

This would include WADA having the power to investigate and sanction International Federations “now facing extensive evidence of doping and cover-ups following the publication of McLaren’s efforts”.

Mutko, who stepped down from his role as Russian Sports Minister in October, has described the calls as “absolutely political” and a “deliberate attack on Russian sport aimed at its defamation“.

Mutko has also promised that Russia will do its best to protect its athletes, including taking legal action.

“Anti-doping organisations are anti-doping organisations, they should control the situation in their country, collect urine, but not interfere with politics,” he told Russian website R-Sport.

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