The Latest: Kremlin defends not suspending sports minister


The Latest on the Russian doping case (all times local to Rio de Janeiro):

8:55 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has not been suspended from duties because he is not directly accused of covering up doping.

Putin said on Monday that officials named in the McLaren Report into Russian doping cover-ups would be suspended. A deputy sports minister has been suspended.

Dmitry Peskov says that was because Mutko was not named as someone “directly involved” in the cover-up.

While the report says much of the day-to-day administration of doping cover-ups was done by deputy minister Yuri Nagornykh and Mutko’s adviser, Nataliya Zhelanova, Mutko is accused of having ordered a cover-up in one case, that of an unnamed foreign soccer player in the Russian Premier League.

Mutko is one of Putin’s oldest allies in the government, having worked with each other for more than 20 years, dating to their time together in the St. Petersburg city administration in the 1990s.

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7:55 a.m.

London Marathon organizers say a British court has ordered Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova to repay prize and appearance money after being banned for doping.

The High Court judgment mandates Shobukhova to repay 377,961.62 pounds ($498,000) plus costs relating to her 2010 marathon victory and second-place finish the following year in the British capital.

London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel says “the next step is to get the judgment enforced in Russia. It will be a long and difficult process but we will pursue it as we are determined that cheats should not benefit.”

Shobukhova was stripped of her 2009-2011 results when the Russian federation initially banned her for two years for blood doping, and she was ordered to forfeit her prize money.

The IAAF appealed for a four-year ban from the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A settlement was reached in June for Shobukhova to serve a three-year, two-month ban through March 2016.

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6:50 a.m.

The umbrella body for summer Olympic sports has indicated it is opposed to a ban for the whole Russian team.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, which represents the governing bodies of 28 sports on the Olympic program, says “it is important to focus on the need for individual justice in all these cases.”

However, ASOIF also says it will respect a ban on a national team in a particular sport, if imposed by that sport’s international federation.

That would cover the doping ban on the Russian athletics team which was upheld by the International Association of Athletics Federations last month, or bans on several weightlifting teams, including Russia’s.

ASOIF adds it wants more investigation into allegations that the Russian government covered up hundreds of doping cases.

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6 a.m.

A hearing is underway to determine whether Russia’s entire athletics team will be banned from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro over doping.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is hearing an appeal in Geneva by 68 Russian athletes against the IAAF’s decision to ban the Russian team due to widespread doping.

Since the World Anti-Doping Agency first accused Russia of systematic doping in November, leading athletes, coaches, and officials have been suspended over drug use.

The case is separate from the McLaren Report, which on Monday detailed a vast cover-up of Russian doping cases, alleging the Russian Sports Ministry ordered hundreds of positive test results to be concealed, including many in athletics.

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4 a.m.

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee has a teleconference on Tuesday to go over options in the wake of a report that uncovered a state-run doping scheme in Russia that ensnared 28 sports, both summer and winter.

It started in 2011 and ended four years later — well past the time when Russian authorities knew they were under the doping microscope.

After receiving the evidence from the report it commissioned, the World Anti-Doping Agency called for the IOC to consider a ban of Russia’s entire Olympic team. But a blanket ban is not a sure thing.

The decision to deliver one is rife with political ramifications that involve a country that sent the third-most athletes (more than 430) to the previous Summer Olympics, four years ago in London. It puts the IOC in the position of ruling against one of its biggest supporters, a nation that spent more than $50 billion hosting the Winter Games in Sochi just two years ago.

IOC president Thomas Bach said the committee wouldn’t hesitate to apply the toughest sanctions available. Whether the IOC issues its decision on Tuesday or simply sets the table for it to come later, it could be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.