WRD/ARD Television release, translated from German to English

Russia’s sports at a low point: A report by the New York Times published on May 12, 2016 indicated harrowing evidence of Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Allegedly en masse and arranged by the Sports Ministry itself. Its chief, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, met ARD a few days ago for an exclusive interview.

Herein Mutko also talks about reform efforts of the past months, dealing with suspended coaches and the prospect of Olympic Games without Russian participation.

For more than one hour the controversial the ARD / WDR-Doping editorial team conducted interview with Vitaly Mutko, on the 28th of April in Moscow and the interview can be seen this Friday in three languages ​​and full length on sportschau.de. Here, the Sports Minister took questions from WDR / ARD reporter Hajo Seppelt, who had disclosed the systemic doping in Russian Athletics in three major TV documentaries for the first time.

Russia’s athletes have been excluded in competing in international competitions. Fearing for their participation in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the central theme of the interview is about the problems of doping in athletics. Some statements of Mutkos are also interesting in light of the new revelations by the New York Times regarding serious doping offenses at the Winter Games in Sochi.

It is admitted by Mutko, Minister of Sport since 2008 in Russia, the first one that he was not happy with his balance on the fight against doping. “I cannot say that I, after eight years in office can claim great success in this area.” One of his explanations: “We had many other major challenges such as the preparations for the Sochi Olympics. As we prepared for Sochi, as we have revolutionized the sport of skiing. We knew that we will have no false wins at home. ”

Exactly, but there has been loud accusations from the New York Times, where dozens of Russian athletes including at least 15 medallists were doping at the Games and not only in the knowledge of the Sport Ministry, but even on their behalf. So this has created a list of athletes prior to the Games, which should be part of the doping program. Positive doping tests had been replaced during the Games in planning night-and-dagger operations – total numbers caught are allegedly around 100 but not the Olympic champions. Russia led the medal table by the end of the Games.

“I knew I had aligned my focus on the winter sports.”

It looked at Mutkos appointment quite different: “When I started,” he said in the ARD interview, and therefore before the revelations of the New York Times, “because we won three gold medals at the Winter Games in Vancouver and finished in eleventh place. The average age in skiing was 37 years. Thirty-seven years! I knew exactly what was going on. I had the results from Turin looked up [of the 2006 Winter Games, n. D. Red.] And there were seven of eleven winners retrospectively disqualified for doping. Therefore: I knew I must align my focus on winter sports .”

Considering that, despite the alleged doping, no disqualifications of Russian athletes were in Sochi, a man plays an essential role, which now acts as the main witness for the search of the New York Times: Grigory Rodchenkov. The former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratories developed in his own words, not only the doping cocktail of three different substances, but also coordinated the regular exchange of critical samples during the Games.

In an open letter Rodchenkov urges the IOC President Thomas Bach and the WADA President Craig Reedie now to open embedded doping samples from the 2014 for retests. In the spring of 2015 he was, even then heavily burdened by the first WDR / ARD documentary entitled “Geheimsache Doping: How Russia makes champions”, resigned on public pressure from his post as head of the anti-doping laboratories and for fear he would flee its own security in the United States.

Also to Rodchenkov, Mutko expressed in an interview with WDR / ARD reporter Hajo Seppelt, the asking him to accusations to comment, after which the Russian state itself had taken its influence that doping samples for years been swept under the carpet in this same laboratory. Mutko, however will not hear of government involvement in this kind transactions. In an interview with the ARD / WDR-Doping editorial he tried to present it as work of an individual – than that of Rodchenkov: “I do not defend Rodchenkov yes, he is fired. He broke a lot of rules and was found to be that one has fired him. But I want to tell you that it is impossible for me or the state to evaluate the work of the laboratory. ”

“It is impossible to hush things up. Why do you not understand? ”

Rodchenkov himself described the doping plan for Sochi as he told the New York Times at the peak of decades of efforts to perfect the Russian doping strategy for international competitions. The instructions for doping as well as for cover ups had come directly from the government. Mutko wanted to say of such operations in the ARD interview that he knows nothing, “It is impossible to hush things up. Why do you not understand? Hide doping samples is not possible. They can drop or break something. That which you have indeed accused also our director, and then loses his accreditation. “Even now, after the new revelations of the New York Times, the sports minister argues further from all allegations. You are nothing but a “continuation of information attacks on the Russian sports,” it says in an official statement.

How serious the minister really takes the doping allegations against his country, he had already hinted in an interview with WDR / ARD reporter Hajo Seppelt. He admits: “The film has helped, we have seen many things” When asked whether he had seen all three German movies on doping in Russia that have appeared since December 2014 he replies: “So the first I have seen,” the second and third documentation but, he must confess to inquiry, he had not looked at until now. “You know, Mr. Seppelt,” he says. “I still have many other concerns.”

The ARD interview with Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko see starting Friday, May 13 in full length and in German, English and Russian version on sportschau.de. Therein Mutko also talks about reform efforts of the past months, dealing with disabled coaches and the prospect of Olympic Games without Russian participation.