Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Friday that dozens of the country’s athletics coaches have been fired over doping violations, as Moscow struggles to get an Iaaf ban overturned.
“We will achieve nothing until we call to account the people encouraging athletes (to dope),” Mutko said in an interview with RBC daily.
“Now we dismiss these people. We have dozens of coaches, who have been under investigation, who have lost the right to work in athletics, lost their status.”
Earlier this month Mutko said that some of the country’s athletics coaches “don’t understand how to work without doping” after the world athletics ruling body Iaaf extended a ban on the country’s team to beyond the August world championships in London.
Russia has been barred from international track and field competition — including the Rio Olympics — since November 2015 following a damning report alleging state-sponsored doping in the country in Olympic sports over several years.
Moscow denies any state role in doping but Mutko, who was promoted from sports minister to deputy prime minister despite the doping controversy, pointed the finger at Russia’s athletics coaches.
“Athletes broke rules and many coaches don’t understand how to work without doping — it’s time for them to retire,” he told the R-Sport agency.