MOSCOW (Reuters) – FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Friday dodged questions about the alleged existence of a state-sponsored doping program in Russia, the host country of next year’s World Cup finals.
Infantino was speaking alongside Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko ahead of the World Cup draw at the Kremlin.
“FIFA doesn’t participate in any speculations about any situation,” he said, referring to allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia that could see the country banned from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February.
Infantino said FIFA was testing players in and out of competition and that all tests from the 2017 Confederations Cup, the 2016 European championship and the 2014 World Cup had proven negative.
“These tests are not carried out in Russia and they are carried out by non-Russians,” Infantino told reporters.
“Obviously, as it was the case in the past and as will be the case in the future as well, if it turns out that anyone has committed a doping violation, has taken some doping, then there will be sanctions.”
Infantino added that the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision next week on Russia’s participation at the winter Games would have no impact on the World Cup.
Russia is set to host the tournament in 12 venues spread across 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi.
The country’s athletics federation, Paralympic committee and anti-doping agency RUSADA remain suspended over doping scandals.
Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christian Radnedge