By Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Saturday barring athletes and coaches found guilty of doping from receiving Kremlin grants.
The degree, published on Saturday on the Kremlin’s website, comes as Russia steps up its fight against doping in a bid to have the suspensions against its national anti-doping agency RUSADA, its athletics federation and its Paralympic Committee lifted.
The payment of Kremlin grants will cease the month after anti-doping authorities find an athlete, coach or sports specialist guilty of involvement in the use of performance- enhancing drugs, Putin’s decree said.
They will remain ineligible for Kremlin grants “two years following the year in which the sanctions against them expire,” according to the decree.
The decree also stressed that the measures apply to Olympic and Paralympic champions, as well as to champions of the Deaflympics.
Earlier this week the Russian government approved a plan aimed at curbing doping through education programs and the creation of a new anti-doping laboratory, among other measures.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspended RUSADA in 2015 in the aftermath of a report that found evidence of state-sponsored doping and accused it of violating anti-doping regulations.
Russian authorities deny there was a state-backed doping program, but have pledged to follow international recommendations to have RUSADA reinstated.
WADA last month allowed RUSADA to plan and coordinate testing under the supervision of international experts, but said much remained to be done for the agency to retrieve its accreditation.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; editing by Stephen Powell)