To spite of records: what is the threat to the Russian sports doping scandal


Who is to blame for what happened with the Russian athletes?

Athletes whose samples was found a prohibited drug Meldonium, put forward different versions of the causes of the incident. Maria Sharapova refers to inattention when viewing email, the skating Union — the machinations of rivals, the all-Russian volleyball Federation — that doping tests showed only traces of Meldonium, which was used prior to the ban.

Regardless of the circumstances of the contact with the substance in the athlete’s body responsible for the use of doping drugs is solely the athlete. “In accordance with the principle of strict liability doesn’t matter how or why a banned substance got into the athlete’s body. Athletes are responsible for what happens to their body”, — stated in the WADA rules.

Russian MPs believe that it is much more. Officials irresponsible attitude to the issue and did not even have representatives in WADA, there was no proper cooperation and dialogue, said a member of the state Duma Committee on sport Vasily Shestakov. The Ministry of sports should have at least inform athletes and medical professionals about changes in the list of drugs, wrote the Communist Sergei Obukhov in its request addressed to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin, demanding to take disciplinary measures of the sports officials. Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko believes that the responsibility should be borne by the trainers, doctors, physiotherapists and heads of federations. The captain of female Russian national team on tennis Anastasia Myskina in conversation with the Agency “R-Sport” also said that the blame for the situation Maria Sharapova and her team.

What was your reaction to the doping scandal the Russian authorities?

The only joint in the Kremlin and in the government, and MPs, is that there are signs of anti-Russian conspiracy. In late November of last year United Russia Ildar Gilmutdinov submitted to the state Duma a bill on criminal liability for inducing a trainer or doctor athletes for doping (the penalty to 500 thousand rubles). It was also proposed to establish criminal responsibility for the cheating athlete’s coach or doctor, expressed in the transmission of the first “substances prohibited from use in sports” (a fine of up to RUB 2 million). Profile Committee of the Duma recommended the author to modify the text, but the government, according to the MP, sent a negative review. The MP withdrew the bill on March 9.
However, criminal liability for doping deputies gathered urgently to discuss at the meeting of the relevant Committee. But neither they nor the apparatchiks did not have time to prepare materials for the Committee, so the hearing was postponed, said a source in the Duma Committee on sport.

When will be taken of the final decision and than they threaten Russian sport?

The first hearing of the case Maria Sharapova will take place on March 23 in London, where the headquarters of the International tennis Federation (ITF). An independent Tribunal will consider all the circumstances and decide on the punishment athletes. The standard penalty includes disqualification (in the case of Sharapova, the maximum term — four years) and return the prize won by the athlete at competitions, during which she has been doping. The decision of the Tribunal can be challenged by WADA or the athlete in the International sports arbitration in Lausanne (Switzerland). The head of WADA Craig reedy has expressed the opinion that adequate punishment will be disqualification Sharapova for a period of one year. In this case, Maria will miss the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in summer 2016. The incidence of doping in professional tennis is quite rare compared to athletics, Cycling or weightlifting. In most cases, the disqualification does not exceed one year, the long applied to the little-known American tennis player Wayne Odesnik in 2014 he was suspended from tennis for 15 years for repeatedly identified the use of anabolic steroids.
Of all athletes whose samples were identified Meldonium, in the most difficult situation is the young skater Pavel Kulizhnikov. 21-year-old world champion in his career already had been suspended for doping in 2012 champion of the Junior championship Kulizhnikov caught on the use of methylhexanamine and was disqualified for two years. Proven relapse threatens him a lifetime disqualification.

What was your reaction to the scandal of Western mass media?

The world’s media have questioned the sincerity of statements Sharapova that she did not know about the prohibition of Meldonium. “The entire 2015 Meldonium was in the list WADA, reminds the editor of the sports Department and The Guardian’s Owen Gibson. — Moreover, similar to the Agency sources claim that the [athletes] were properly notified of changes in the list of prohibited substances and certainly communication was not limited to electronic correspondence, which Sharapova was unable to read it.”

Before each competition players urged to voluntarily compile a list of drugs taken by them. “Indicated whether Sharapova Meldonium? If not, why? If Yes, was supposed to be someone who would pay attention to it,” writes Gibson. In General, according to the journalist, a serious problem for the sport remains the often subtle difference between using a drug for health reasons or to improve the results.

Columnist sports blog The Guardian’s Marina Hyde writes that Sharapova’s case is not unique: about 2.2% of athletes, according to WADA, take Meldonium. “We must either agree that the drug is taken as doping to improve results, or to admit that the sports world is suffering a pandemic of angina pectoris,” writes Hyde.

German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also inclined to believe that the number of scandals in the sport does not allow for athletes caught doping, the victims of the situation: “many people believe that doping is as much a part of athletics, as drugs from the rock’ n ‘ roll,” writes columnist FAZ evi Simeoni. Sharapova complained of heart trouble, and so for years, before and after the ban of Meldonium, a drug used for obtaining advantages over competitors, says Simeoni.

American The New York Times notes that unlike the previous scandals with the stars of the first magnitude, the sponsors quickly turned away from Sharapova. Just four years ago, the sportswear manufacturer Nike made in defense of golfer tiger woods and basketball player Kobe Bryant, also caught doping, reminds the edition. Reverse tactics in the case of Sharapova, according to the newspaper, is that career athletes has already passed its peak and “marketing opportunities” in the eyes of sponsors reduced.

How much cost the athletes with doping scandals?

Personal sponsorship contracts have only a superstar of world level. The loss of advertising contracts because of the scandal — a frequent phenomenon in sport. American cyclist lance Armstrong after allegations of doping in 2012, has lost contracts with Nike, the brewing concern Anheuser-Busch, bike manufacturer Trek and other companies totaling at least $75 million to American baseball player Barry bonds in 2007, admitted that he unintentionally used steroids ended his work with MasterCard, KFC and financial services company Charles Schwab (the loss of an athlete was approximately $28 million). Golfer tiger woods was at the center of the scandal in 2009, when admitted numerous marital infidelities. The athlete refused Accenture, AT&T, Gillette, and his income fell by about $50 million a year. Interestingly, Nike has continued to work with woods, but had cut its annual $ 20 million contract by half.

Sharapova could lose the prize for participation in the Australian Open (Australian Open) — approximately $298 thousand in addition, the suspension of cooperation with it has already announced Nike (in 2010, the parties entered into a ten-year contract worth $70 million, probably the largest contract athletes), manufacturer of luxury watches Tag Heuer (the contract expired in December 2015, of negotiations on its extension, but the amount was not disclosed) and automotive group Porsche (the contract was signed in 2014 for three years and was estimated at $2 million per year). At the moment, Sharapova signed advertising contracts with American Express, Avon, Evian and Head — these companies have not yet commented on the doping scandal.

Other Russian athletes who were found positive doping test, do not have personal sponsorship contracts. The basis of their earnings make up the prize money they receive for participating and achieving results on the commercial launch. Sponsorship contracts have Russian sports Federation, responsible for the preparation of national teams for competitions and the conduct of domestic competitions. In most cases, as it is sponsored by a major Russian company. So, the all-Russian volleyball Federation sponsor Gazprom, VTB, VEB, “Siberian cement”, MOESK and other companies. “We do not plan to refuse to cooperate with any of the Russian sports federations,” — said first Deputy President of VTB Bank, Vasily Titov, without explaining whether to adjust the program of financing of Russian sport from the Bank.

The representative of Samsung, which has a sponsorship deal with Russian tennis Federation declined to comment on future activities of the company.

With the participation of Farida Rustamova and the Maria Makutenas