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Russians to take no part in World Cup drug testing: FIFA

The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

(Reuters) - Russians will not be involved in drug testing procedures at the World Cup as FIFA looks to reassure teams that samples cannot be tampered with, the governing body’s medical committee chairman Michel D’Hooghe has told the Times newspaper.

A 2016 report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and compiled by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren found more than 1,000 Russian competitors were involved in a conspiracy to conceal positive tests over a five-year period.

Soccer was among the sports implicated in the probe and the sport’s global governing body are taking no chances at the Russia-hosted World Cup.

“My basic condition to lead the anti-doping policy in Russia is that everything would be done from the very beginning to the last point by FIFA without Russian intervention,” D’Hooghe told the Times.

“That means the chaperones, who take the players from the field, will be designated by FIFA and will not be Russian.”

Russia has acknowledged some findings of the McLaren report but has repeatedly denied the existence of a state-sponsored doping program.

D’Hooghe said players at the June 14-July 15 finals could be accompanied by an official from their national associations with a medical doctor preferred.

“The players will be brought to a doping control room where there will be only FIFA doctors, two FIFA medical people and no entrance for anybody who is not allowed to be there,” Belgian D’Hooghe added.

“Everything will be sealed and brought to the control of the laboratory in Lausanne... I told the people in Russia that if something goes wrong, for the first time they will not be criticized as it will not be their responsibility.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien