Urine swapping aparently also happened with Russian national player Kambolov

Ruslan Kambolov

Doping whistleblower Rodchenkov

Urine swapping aparently also happened with Russian national player Kambolov

Von Hajo Seppelt, Florian Riesewieck and Sebastian Münster

The cover-up of positive doping tests via the swapping of urine samples, which happened on a large scale during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, apparently also existed in football, claims doping whistleblower Grigori Rodchenkov.

Even after Sochi 2014, and also after the first doping revelations of ARD at the end of the same year, doping was covered up in football with the support of the FSB intelligence service, describes Rodchenkov from his exile in a secret location in the US.

Concealed urine sample from 2015 belonged to national player Kambolov

Rodchenkov gives the example of Ruslan Kambolov. ARD’s research now shows that a doping sample from the early summer of 2015, which WADA investigators believe has been concealed, belongs to the Russian national team player.

The urine sample with the number 3878295 tested positive at the Moscow laboratory, but was apparently never reported to the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA - as supposedly also happened in numerous other cases.

Rodchenkov reports urine swapping in football in his diary

Präsentation des Dopingkits des Fußball-Weltverbands FIFA

Dopingkit des Fußball-Weltverbands FIFA

Kambolov was found to be using the substance Dexamethasone, which is banned during competition. But what happened to his urine samples afterwards?

This is shown by the diary records of the doping witness Grigori Rodchenkov, which the ARD now has access to. According to a diary entry on June 10, 2015, a certain "Blochin" came to the lab. Yevgeny Blochin - the FSB secret agent, who according to investigators, organised the exchange of positive samples for clean urine at the Olympics in Sochi. On that day in June, according to the diary, he brought with him "magicians" who performed "four tricks". "Thank God everything went well," writes Rodchenkov.

In an ARD investigation into the Kambolov case, Rodchenkov explains further that they had used such code terminology for manipulation. According to this, Kambolov's urine was "definitively exchanged" on this day in June 2015, says Rodchenkov. "Kambolov was classified as a doping case. FIFA knows that.

If one believes doping whistleblower Rodchenkov, Kambolov's sample was exchanged and the real one lost. According to ARD, the case presented FIFA with considerable legal difficulties. Despite clear indications of manipulation, Kambolov was recently discharged for lack of evidence, it was said.

"System Sochi" also applied to at least one member of preliminary Russian World Cup squad

OOn the basis of the case of Kambolov it follows that: in at least one case, the intelligence service was involved in manipulating a sample from the Russian national football team. As happened during the 2014 Winter Olympics, sample containers were opened and urine was exchanged.

The player himself stated that he had taken the agent dexamethasone about three weeks before the positive test in training - whereby it is allowed. According to ARD information, a concentration was measured that was fifteen to twenty times higher than the amount that has to be reported as suspicious.

Mario Thevis, from the WADA-accredited Cologne Doping Control Lab, considers this explanation to be "very unlikely". Measurements such as these appear "about twelve to 24 hours after ingestion". "However, these usually decrease within 24 hours below the reported concentrations in the urine of the athlete," said Thevis.

Note: a short time later, Kambolov was dropped from the World Cup team again. Due to injury, it was said. Did Russia only want to avoid more negative headlines during the World Cup?

Exit checks for Russia team before the World Cup 2014

From emails of the chief doping witness Rodchenkov it is shown that there may have been tests of the Russian team shortly before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in order to check whether all players were clean at this time. Exit checks are an indication of possible manipulation in advance. The doping string-puller Rodchenkov should use doping analyses to see if players are – using the usual codeword – "healthy".

In a raid in December 2014, the World Anti-Doping Agency secured thousands of doping samples in the Moscow laboratory. The samples also included 155 from Russian footballers, as WADA chief investigator Richard McLaren later announced. The investigators suspected that these were part of a state cover-up system.

Lack of transparency in retests of suspect samples from football players

FIFA recently announced that it had retested the suspicious samples, some of which are from players on the current Russian World Cup team. The analysis results were negative.

The ARD doping editorial team then asked FIFA what kind of tests were actually carried out - whether all detectable substances in the urine were actually being tested for.

However, FIFA did not supply an answer in its response to this specific issue. Instead stating that the retests were "in line with WADA's recommendations". "For further concerns, we suggest you contact WADA."

WADA, in response to ARD’s request, answered: "These are actually questions for FIFA and not for WADA."

The impression remains: the top doping agency and the World Football Association each place the responsibility on the other without answering specific questions about the retesting.

Skepticism remains as to how much desire to investigate actually exists. This lack of transparency will continue to cast doubts over Russian football.

Stand: 18.06.2018, 21:39