Russia's Deputy PM Vitaly Mutko hits out at UK press after doping claims

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has told the TASS news agency that the country's national football team has never had any issues with doping and accused the English media of writing "nonsense."

The Mail on Sunday reported at the weekend that "FIFA have admitted they are investigating whether Russia's entire 23-man 2014 World Cup squad were part of the country's state-supported doping programme and cover-ups."

The English newspaper said the 23 players on the Russia team that lost in the group stages in Brazil three years ago are among at least 34 Russian footballers in the list of over 1,000 athletes listed as "people of interest" in the "McLaren report" commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on state-sponsored interference in 30 sports.

Mutko, who also serves as Russian Football Union president, suggested the article had appeared as the result of resentment among the English media since 2010, when Russia beat England in the race to host the 2018 World Cup.

He said: "Do not pay attention to this. They [the UK media] from 2010 are writing about us all negative. In football never has been or never will be any doping -- our national team undergoes tests all the time. We never came across this topic in football. What are they writing about? This is nonsense."

He said he had met fans in Kazan for the Confederations Cup clash between Mexico and Russia on Saturday and added: "They brought all family members from across Russia, from other countries -- Mexico, Chile. All very friendly.

"They [the UK media] should have rather written about this, but they would not. If a new bridge appears, nobody writes about it, but if it falls apart, here they are shouting about it, you see."

TASS also quoted FIFA's press service as saying tests had found no evidence of doping at either the 2014 World Cup or 2017 Confederations Cup.

The press service said: "As far as the FIFA Confederations Cup is concerned, every participating player has been tested through blood and urine in unannounced controls.

"Both the results of the unannounced and the post-match tests have been negative so far.

"Furthermore, all players participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup -- including all members of the Russian squad -- underwent pre-competition and post-match tests, all of which resulted negative.

"FIFA was in charge of the tests and sent all samples to be analysed by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne. The same procedure is currently being applied for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017.

"FIFA has simply confirmed that, in close collaboration with WADA, it is still investigating the allegations involving football players in the so-called McLaren report.

"However, FIFA did not refer to any particular players, since it cannot comment on the status of ongoing investigations."