Lawyers for Russian player say FIFA ends anti-doping investigation

Lokomotiv Moscow player Ruslan Kambolov, right, fights for the high ball with Lausanne-Sport Ridge Munsy in 2010. (Sergey Ponomarev/AP)

GENEVA — Lawyers for Russia defender Ruslan Kambolov have said FIFA closed an investigation into suspected doping, eight weeks before the World Cup begins.

FIFA terminated the case because of a "lack of evidence of such violations," Moscow-based law firm Sila said in a statement on its website.

FIFA did not immediately confirm the details, which included Sila publishing an apparent letter it received by email Thursday from the world soccer body’s anti-doping manager.

The investigation against Kambolov was revealed in February by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko. He said it was not linked to the national team.

FIFA opened the case after the World Anti-Doping Agency provided many international sports bodies with evidence of suspected Russian doping and coverups by state authorities over several years.

The sources of the evidence include a WADA-appointed investigation led by Richard McLaren, whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, and a database of testing information from the Moscow laboratory which Rodchenkov led. He later fled to the United States and is in a witness protection program.

WADA has pledged to consider appeals against governing bodies which drop Russian cases without sanctions.

Kambolov, a 28-year-old defender with Rubin Kazan, has played twice for Russia and was an unused squad member at the 2017 Confederations Cup.

FIFA previously declined to say how many Russian players it is investigating.

Two months ago, Mutko also said FIFA was investigating a former defender with the Russia Under-21 team, Ivan Knyazev. Mutko has repeatedly denied Russia ran a state-back doping program.

A document potentially linking Russia’s 2014 World Cup squad to a program to hide positive doping tests is reportedly in the evidence package provided by WADA. Some of those players are still in the national team squad.

The World Cup begins June 14 in Moscow.

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