Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko says no one will face criminal charges over the worst doping scandal in Russia’s history, sports portal Sportfakt.ru reported Friday.
As many as 30 Russian athletes have tested positive for meldonium — banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Jan. 1, 2016 — including tennis star Maria Sharapova, four-time world swimming champion Yulia Yefimova, European figure skating championship medalist Ekaterina Bobrova and world speed skating champion Pavel Kulizhnikov.
"The General Prosecutor's Office carefully examined the report in question and did not find a single legally supported fact to open any kind of case," Mutko said, Sportfakt.ru reported.
On Thursday it was reported that more than 15 players from Russia’s national under-18 men’s hockey World Championships roster had tested positive for the banned drug, prompting the entire 30-man squad to be replaced by under-17 players for next week’s IIHF World Under-18 Championships in the U.S. city of Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Mutko said the changes to Russian sports teams were in relation to “minimizing risks” and “limiting the loss” for Russian sport.
"If an athlete or a group of athletes took [meldonium] in October or November, we don't know if it'll be detected or not [in testing]," the minister said, the state-run TASS news agency reported.