FIFA is standing by Russia to host an "outstanding" 2018 World Cup in light of a damning report conducted by the world’s leading anti-doping authority that accuses Russia of government-sponsored doping.
The report released Monday claims the Russian government organized an operation to help the country’s athletes take performance-enhancing drugs before the 2014 Sochi Olympics without detection. In releasing their findings, the World-Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, called for Russian athletes to be banned from the Rio Olympics next month — but the report also drew attention to the next big event Russia will be hosting: the World Cup in 2018.
Though the report focuses solely on the Olympics and does not make any conclusions about the 2018 World Cup, the report does say that the doping case of "at least" one soccer player in Russia’s Premier League was covered up and 11 positive tests for Russian soccer players "were made to disappear."
In responses to inquiries about the new report, FIFA stood by Russia as host of the next World Cup and said it will ensure that anti-doping measures will be up to standard.
"For the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, as for all FIFA competitions, FIFA will be in charge of the anti-doping program, ensuring the highest standards, including the latest science and recommendations by WADA," FIFA said in a statement. "The analysis of the samples, as always, will be done in a WADA accredited laboratory, be it in Russia or abroad or both. It is WADA’s duty to ensure that laboratories fulfill the required criteria of independence and quality to be accredited in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code."
FIFA added that the soccer-governing body "is confident that the Local Organizing Committee and the Russian government are going to deliver an outstanding event for football fans two years from now."