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World Anti-Doping Agency Welcomes Putin's Admission Of Doping Abuses

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The World Anti-Doping Agency welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin's acknowledgement that his country's doping system is not working and needs an overhaul.

Putin on March 1 acknowledged individual instances of doping in Russia and said they indicated the country's anti-doping system "failed," although he continued to deny any state involvement in the doping abuses.

"WADA is encouraged by this sign of progress from the highest political levels in Russia," WADA President Craig Reedie said, calling Putin's "public admission" a "step in the right direction."

Reedie said the agency stands ready to continue "supporting Russia's efforts to rebuild a credible anti-doping system."

WADA's investigations found evidence of widespread, state-sponsored doping and cover-ups in Russia. This has led to Russian athletes being banned from numerous global competitions since 2015.

A group of national anti-doping organizations also recently called for a blanket ban on all sporting contact with Russia.

WADA director general Olivier Niggli said he hopes Putin's statement would allow the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency to follow the road map set out for it to return to compliance with anti-doping rules by becoming "truly autonomous" from the government.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS