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FIFA still waiting for information on Russian doping cases

Fatma Samoura during a press conference marking 100 days until the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017.
Fatma Samoura took her post as FIFA secretary general in June 2016.

FIFA is still waiting for details on players implicated in an investigation of doping in Russian soccer, secretary general Fatma Samoura has said.

WADA investigator Richard McLaren published hundreds of pages of documents in December alleging widespread drug use and cover-ups in Russian sports. Some cases appear to involve Russia's under-17 and under-21 national teams.

"We are waiting for proof and also names of football players concerned," Samoura said during a visit to Russia, adding that FIFA wants "WADA or other stakeholders" to send the names.

Other major sports federations, particularly in winter sports, have started disciplinary proceedings after WADA supplied unredacted files on possible dopers. Athletes' identities were concealed with code numbers in the public version of McLaren's report.

However, WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said FIFA received names and summaries of evidence "a couple of days after" the McLaren report was published in December.

"What they might be referring to is that they're awaiting updated translations" of documents originally written in Russian, Nichols said.

FIFA didn't immediately respond to a request for clarification.

Emails released in December alongside McLaren's report state that there were five suspicious samples in the Russian men's under-17 and under-21 national teams in 2013 and 2014 for which no action was taken, plus two cases in the Russian league.

WADA has previously said that building disciplinary cases against individual Russians is difficult because the Moscow laboratory destroyed more than 1,000 samples. That means only documentary records -- primarily leaked emails between Russian laboratory and sports officials -- remain for some cases identified in McLaren's report.

Samoura dismissed suggestions the Russian doping scandals could tarnish the World Cup or the Confederations Cup.

"The doping has nothing to do with the two events that we are about to see being staged in this country," Samoura said. "FIFA takes very seriously every aspect that can negatively impact the holding of events worldwide. Whether we are talking about doping, security and safety or discrimination, xenophobia, we make sure that bad behaviours are not affecting our competition."

Hooliganism is also "something that we are addressing" in the build-up to next year's World Cup, Samoura added, following violent clashes between England and Russia fans in Marseille during last year's European Championship, and an attack by Russian fans on English supporters in the stadium itself.

World Cup organising committee CEO Alexei Sorokin said tight security and a database of information on ticket-holders would prevent disturbances and keep troublemakers away from stadiums.

"There may be occasional incidents [of hooliganism] but it's not a trend, it doesn't represent a tendency which is characteristic of our society," Sorokin said. "We are making everything possible for the fans to feel comfortable and safe in our country."


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