Athletics: CAS bans Russian doping 'mastermind'

(AFP) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued a life ban against doctor Sergei Portugalov, the alleged mastermind of doping in Russian track and field, Russia's athletics federation said on Monday (March 13).

"The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne has ruled on a life ban for Sergei Portugalov," the federation said in a statement.

Portugalov was found "guilty of violating several articles" of IAAF Anti-Doping Regulations, including the possession and dissemination of prohibited substances, it added.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) recommended in a 2015 report that Portugalov take no part in any state sports programme after he was found to have supplied athletes with banned performance-enhancing drugs.

CAS did not immediately confirm the ban.

Wada said Portugalov, who had served as the head of the Russian athletics federation's medical commission, was "very active in the conspiracy to cover up athletes' positive tests in exchange for a percentage of their winnings."

The agency said that Portugalov administered the doping programmes and "even injected athletes himself."

Russia has been barred from international track and field competition, including the Rio Olympics, since November 2015 following the damning report presenting evidence of state-sponsored doping in the sport.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body of athletics, last month cleared three Russians - pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova, sprinter Kristina Sivkova and Aleksei Sokirskii - to compete internationally under a neutral flag.

The IAAF said that the trio had met the "exceptional eligibility criteria" it had established for Russians to compete on the international stage.

Russian authorities have recognised the existence of doping in sport but vehemently deny any state complicity in athletes' use of performance-enhancing drugs.