MOSCOW (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee and anti-doping authorities are to blame for a Russian doping scandal that tarnished the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.
The IOC and the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) failed to supervise drug tests properly and Russia is innocent of any doping and should not be held responsible for what happened, Mutko said.
Ten Russian Olympians, six cross-country skiers and four skeleton athletes were banned for life from the Olympics by the IOC this month for violating anti-doping rules at Sochi.
The bans stem from an IOC investigation into allegations of widespread doping among Russians and sample tampering by security officials at the anti-doping laboratory in Sochi.
It is one of the biggest cases of state-sponsored doping in Olympic history. Russia denies any role but has pledged to cooperate with international sports bodies to help rid the country of doping.
“People have been so brainwashed that Russia is to blame for everything that nobody remembers WADA’s responsibility, nor that of the IOC,” R-Sport news agency quoted Mutko as saying.
WADA should be asked about its employees who worked at the laboratory during the Games.
“What were they doing there? Sleeping?” Mutko said.
The IOC has been re-testing all Russian athletes’ samples from the 2014 Games following revelations by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s suspended anti-doping laboratory, of a scheme to cover up home competitors’ positive samples.
The IOC is to decide next month on the participation of Russian competitors at the Pyeongchang winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
Russia’s Paralympic committee, anti-doping agency RUSADA and athletics federation remain suspended over doping scandals.
Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg