Vitaly Mutko (Getty)

(WFI) FIFA’s ethics committee is studying WADA’s allegations that ExCo member and Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko was “complicit” in a cover-up of doping in Russian athletics.

“The investigatory chamber is analysing carefully this documentation and then we will come up with any further procedures… if at all,” a spokesman for the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics panel tells INSIDER.

Richard Pound, head of WADA’s independent commission, on Monday delivered a damning verdict on state-sponsored doping in Russia following an 11-month investigation.

Commenting specifically on the involvement of Mutko, who leads Russia’s 2018 World Cup organizing committee, Pound said it was “not possible for him to be unaware of it. If he was aware of it then he was complicit in it”.

Mutko could face sanctions if found to have breached FIFA’s Code of Ethics.

WADA’s independent commission met with Mutko in Zurich on Sept. 22 at the Baur au Lac – the hotel where seven FIFA officials were arrested in a dawn raid in May. The sports minister was in town for FIFA meetings and was accompanied by Russia 2018 CEO Alexey Sorokin and an interpreter.

While the WADA commission had its own interpreter, the “official” interpretation was done by the Mutko’s interpreter during the two-hour meeting.

According to WADA’s report released on Monday, Mutko spoke about the Russian government’s funding “ to build up the best laboratories and the best methods of testing athletes in the interests of clean sport; no conditions are set by the government”.

The sports minister told the commission officials that he was “disgusted with the whistleblowers, does not believe their allegations and says they had no right to make the recordings and that such tapings are matters for the public prosecutors”, a reference to the German television channel ARD’s documentary “Top Secret Doping: How Russia makes its Winners” screened last December.

WADA said that Mutko claimed he did not know anything about any“blackmailing” reported to WADA, was unaware that the athletes had refused to speak with the commission and of any involvement by the Russian secret service FSB in the operations of the Moscow laboratory; “the secret service in any country does its job”.

Mutko, however, admitted that there had been investigations and “certain people had been fired”.

Among the conclusions of Pound’s commission was that the sports ministry “did nothing to investigate the serious allegations of criminal conduct on the part of Russian sport officials”.

Mutko labeled the WADA report’s findings “baseless”.

He hit back at Pound’s statement at the press conference in which the former WADA president said Mutko was “complicit” in a cover-up of Russian doping.

“There is the report of the commission and there is the opinion of Mr. Pound, who actually overstepped and exceeded the competence of this commission, and gave his personal assessment, rather a general assessment of the entire anti-doping activities in Russia,” Mutko told Russia Today.

In a statement released late last night, the ministry of sport conceded that it was “not surprised by most of the points in the report”, saying it had undertaken measures to remedy the “problems” in the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF).

Russia’s anti-doping policy over the last six years was developed in accordance with the recommendations of WADA and the IOC, Mutko’s ministry said.

“The ministry of sport of the Russian Federation follows WADA’s strong recommendations and we do not interfere in RUSADA and anti-doping laboratory work,” the statement said. “In turn, we are open to close cooperation with WADA in order to eliminate any violations of RUSADA and the accredited laboratory.”

On Tuesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin dismissed WADA’s findings, via his spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Putin is going ahead in staging some Olympic-related events this week involving the sports minister, whose job appears to be safe, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Asked by a reporter if Putin had concerns about Mutko, Peskov said: “Mutko is the incumbent minister, so I do not understand your question.”

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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