FIFA Says There's 'Insufficient Evidence' of Doping Among Russia's Players

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2018

TOPSHOT - Workers fix a giant screen featuring the Russian FIFA World Cup logo, mounted outside Rostov Arena in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on May 12, 2018. - The stadium will host five football matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MLADEN ANTONOV/Getty Images

FIFA has concluded there is "insufficient evidence" Russian footballers set to represent the host nation at this summer's World Cup engaged in and benefited from doping.

World football's governing body released a statement on Tuesday, per BBC Sport: "Investigations concerning all Russian players named for the provisional squad of the FIFA World Cup in Russia have been completed, with the result that insufficient evidence was found to assert an anti-doping rule violation."

FIFA also said "the Russian squad 'has been one of the most tested teams' before the World Cup," which starts June 14.

However, the organization stated investigations will continue into some players not set to be involved in 2018's tournament, per the BBC.

The Guardian's David Conn relayed how FIFA arrived at its conclusions:

It means every member of coach Stanislav Cherchesov's 28-man preliminary squad won't face further scrutiny. This is an obvious boost for a nation hosting its first World Cup, as the preparation and practices of Russia's athletes and its sporting structures have faced suspicion.

The BBC pointed out how German broadcaster ARD recently "alleged the samples of the Russian 2018 World Cup squad were not properly investigated."

More accusations came from the McLaren reports.

Dr. Richard McLaren produced a report—commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2016—into state-sponsored doping across the Russian sports scene. In November, McLaren told BBC Sport that FIFA had been reluctant to regularly seek his input into its investigation.

Following the penalties the International Olympic Committee levied against Russia after Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov exposed doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the latest controversy is bad news for FIFA ahead of an event in which violence among fans and supporter safety are already major concerns.

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