RUSSIAN officials have for the first time admitted the existence of a doping operation which influenced some of the world’s major competitions.
More than 1,000 Russians are believed to have benefited from a doping cover-up between 2011 and 2015.
Anna Antseliovich, acting director general of Russia’s anti-doping agency, said it was an “institutional conspiracy” but that the government’s top officials were not involved.
In July, an investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency said Russia’s sports ministry “directed, controlled and oversaw” the manipulation of urine samples provided by its athletes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Vitaly Smirnov to reform the anti-doping system.
The 81-year-old, a leading sports official since the Soviet era, told the New York Times: “I don´t want to speak for the people responsible. From my point of view, as a former minister of sport – we made a lot of mistakes.”
Russia has already lost the rights to host a number of international events and is currently facing disciplinary proceedings from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The athletics team is also banned from competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).