Putin orders doping investigation

An investigation has been ordered into claims that Russian athletes have been part of a systematic doping programme.

Speaking for the first time since the release of a damning World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) independent report that recommended the country be banned from athletics competition, Russian President Vladimir Putin said athletes should be punished individually, rather than collectively.

"Sportsmen who don't dope – and never have – must not answer for those who break the rules," he said.

"If we find that someone must be held responsible for something of the sort that breaks the rules in place against doping, then the responsibility must be personalised – that's the rule."

Putin also called for co-operation with anti-doping bodies in the investigation.

"The battle must be open," he said. "A sporting contest is only interesting when it is honest.

"I ask the minister of sport and all our colleagues who are linked in one way or another with sport to pay this issue the greatest possible attention," he said, before a meeting sports officials in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"It is essential that we conduct our own internal investigation and – I want to underline – provide the most open professional co-operation with international anti-doping structures."

The BBC has also reported that Russia's athletics federation is planning to admit to some of the charges made against it in the report.

"We admit some things, we argue with some things, some are already fixed – it's a variety," the Russian federation's acting president Vadim Zelichenok told the Associated Press.