Putin signs anti-doping law

Putin signs anti-doping law
FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end of year news conference in Moscow, Russia. Putin says that Russia's economy is showing signs of stabilization despite plummeting oil prices. If the year that was turned out to be daunting, 2016 is shaping up as the European Union’s year of living dangerously. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
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MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law that introduces prison terms for coaches and medical staff who coerce athletes into using banned performance-enhancing drugs.

The law comes into force as Russia is working to clean up its image tarnished by evidence of state-sponsored doping that saw its athletics team and entire Paralympics squad excluded from the Rio Games this summer.

The legislation calls for a one-year jail term for officials who force a minor to dope or resort to violence and threats to make an athlete dope.

The Russian parliament and senate approved the draft law earlier this month.

The law does not outline any punishments for athletes who are identified as drug cheats, with lawmakers saying further legislation is planned.

Revelation of widespread state-backed doping in Russia were contained in the McLaren report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and released in the build-up to the Rio Games.

Russian authorities have denied the existence of a state-run doping programme and have vowed to crack down on doping.

WADA’s deputy director Rob Koehler said Sunday that the campaign to reform Russia’s anti-doping programme was “on the right track.”

Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov said this month that the country had cleaned up its doping problem and should now be allowed to take part in all international competitions.

The second part of the McLaren report covering doping across Russian sport is expected to be released on December 9.