Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has not been suspended from his post following yesterday's publication of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) independent report here as he is not directly accused of covering up doping, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
Putin has said that officials named in the report by Richard McLaren as direct perpetrators will be temporarily suspended from their posts until the investigation is over.
The report showed the Sports Ministry "directed, controlled and oversaw" a "unique" method of sample manipulation at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, involving a sample-swapping method where they had been able to open and reseal tamper-proof bottles.
Thirty sports are alleged to have been implicated in the swapping of samples to conceal positive tests, including summer ones not normally linked with doping like sailing, taekwondo and table tennis, and Paralympic sports.
McLaren also claimed it was "inconceivable" Mutko was not aware of the programme, while his now suspended deputy Yuri Nagornykh was found to have ordered the collection of clean urine samples.
With regard to football, the McLaren Report states that the IP [Independent Person] is aware of at least one foreign footballer playing in the Russian League that had the benefit of a SAVE order, meaning laboratory personnel were required to report the sample negative in WADA’s Anti-Doping Management System.
It is claimed the SAVE decision was made by Mutko, who is also President of the Russian Football Union and a member of FIFA's Executive Committee.
FIFA could yet take action against Mutko themselves, with Russia due to host the next World Cup in 2018.
However, Kremlin spokesman Peskov told Russian news agency TASS that Mutko "was not mentioned in WADA’s report as a person behind the wrongdoings, which other people are suspected of".
"Mutko is not mentioned as an actual perpetrator," he added.
Peskov said that the report mentioned Nagornykh as one of the perpetrators, leading to his suspension yesterday by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
He has also insisted Russian athletes are still focused on competing at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro despite calls for the entire Russian delegation to be banned over doping.
WADA said yesterday that Russia should be banned from all international sporting competition, including Rio 2016, until they have achieved a "culture change".
"Russia is getting ready for the Olympics, the Russian team is getting ready for the Olympics," Peskov said.
"We are strong supporters of Olympic ideas and members of the Olympic family and do not want such situations to damage the Olympic Movement."
A decision on Russia’s participation at Rio 2016 has today been postponed until the end of the week, but the IOC is exploring legal options over a possible total ban.
The country has already been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations due to doping exposed last year.
An appeal on this will be heard today at the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport with a verdict set to be reached by Thursday (July 21).