MOSCOW, Nov 19, 2015:

Russia’s sports minister on Thursday pledged to revamp the country’s anti-doping body after it was suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over non-compliance with international rules.

“We are ready to promptly, effectively and conscientiously cooperate with WADA,” Russian news agencies quoted Vitaly Mutko as saying.

“The decision was expected. We are ready to rebuild our whole anti-doping system.”

WADA last week published an independent panel report which uncovered a vast state-sponsored doping programme in Russian track and field, plunging athletics into the biggest crisis in its history.

The report accused Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA of “routinely” violating international testing standards and allowing athletes banned for doping to compete despite having been suspended from competition, among other damning accusations.

RUSADA said in a statement on Thursday that it was already addressing the “deficiencies” identified in the WADA report and was committed to fighting doping.

Following WADA’s recommendation, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) last week provisionally suspended Russia from international competition, raising the possibility of Russian track stars being left out of next summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

But Russian sports authorities have remained adamant that the country’s track and field athletes will be at the Olympics, pledging to restore the country’s IAAF membership within three months.

Mutko said on Thursday that the sports ministry was poised to jointly conceive a roadmap with WADA to get the country back on track.

The publication of the WADA report also saw the suspension of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, a situation Mutko said was jeopardising Russia’s ability to fight doping.

“By stopping the activities of our anti-doping bodies, we are ceasing all kinds of work to fight doping on Russian territory,” Mutko said, adding that his country was requesting that the laboratory be promptly re-accredited.

“I think WADA management understands this too.”

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