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24th Jun 2018

Russia’s team doctor hits out at doping suggestions after perfect World Cup start

The doctor claims English players have not been tested as often as the Russian squad

Darragh Murphy

Russia’s team doctor has rejected the claim that it would be possible for players from the host nation to violate anti-doping regulations during the World Cup.

United States Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart told the Guardian this week that it would be “naive” for anybody to believe that Russia couldn’t attempt a repeat of the state-sponsored doping scandal that marred the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Russia have already qualified for the knockout stages of the World Cup, winning their opening pair of matches in style.

The Russian side has run further than any other over the first two games and fresh controversy has been cast over the national team after a sensational report from the Mail on Sunday claimed that Russia’s Sports Ministry covered up a positive drug test from one of the players who was initially named in their World Cup squad, swapping out the player’s urine for a clean sample. The player, named by the publication as Ruslan Kambolov, failed to make the final squad for the tournament.

But Russia’s team doctor, Eduard Bezuglov, has played down any accusations of corruption by insisting that the players have provided 300 clean samples to Fifa, Uefa and the Russian anti-doping agency Rusada in the year leading up to the World Cup.

“I’m ready to bet on a bottle of milk that the English have not given samples as often,” Bezuglov told Russian media, as translated by the Guardian.

“So people should focus on themselves and have nothing to fear.”