Before the meeting, the President visited the Champion training centre facilities, in particular those for wrestling and artistic gymnastics, where he briefly spoke with young athletes.
The Champion training centre features 11 halls for nine sports, including artistic gymnastics, acrobatics, rhythmic gymnastics, wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, fencing, shooting and trampolining.
The total area of the centre is 43,750 square metres. Equipped with state-of-the-art sports and technical equipment, Champion can host high-level competitions and major events.
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Excerpts from the transcript of the meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
The council’s meeting today will focus on the training of the reserve and national sports teams. This concerns not only the forming a decent succession of athletes for elite sports. The priority is to bring up a healthy young generation that will share the values of active lifestyle and physical culture.
We do have a system of sports training for children and young people, which has evolved over decades. But modern trends in world sports, scientific innovations, new technologies and new challenges call for a major revision of existing methods and approaches.
Our goal is to ensure the competitiveness of young athletes, of Russian sport as a whole, to maintain leading positions in many areas. First of all, we need to ensure continuity in the preparation of our athletic reserve: from extracurricular sports at schools to sports universities, from local teams to national teams.
Additional education programmes and standards in sports should be harmoniously interlinked and subject to uniform requirements, in a single training process. It is important to streamline the types of entities working for the sports reserve, their status, and the names – you would probably agree with me that it's time we figure them out, otherwise it would be easy to get confused. In fact, they are all engaged in the same process – in fostering athletes. Therefore, they should have universal names regardless of departmental affiliation. They need to have a clear monitoring system and, most importantly, be guided by general federal standards of sports training.
We should also think about support for gifted children. A system of grants for promising athletes is already working in a number of regions. I think it possible to implement this system at the federal level. This will help identify the best of the best and lead them to success. Funds for these purposes must be found, including – I have already talked about this more than once – by reducing the financing of professional sports, at least through the channels often used now to provide money, very large amounts and not always justified.
Competitions have always been and still are an integral part of sports education and identifying gifted young athletes. The Russian sports calendar is diverse and packed, but it clearly lacks some high-profile national event that would give sports fans an opportunity to see our best athletes representing various sports.
It may be recalled that back in 2013 we made the decision to hold summer and winter nationwide Spartakiad games in Russia in events on the Olympic and Paralympic programmes. However, that decision was not completely carried out in practice even though we had everything that was required for that. We have made modest attempts to carry it out but have not done that to the fullest extent possible.
At the same time, top-level national combined competitions – the biggest sports festival uniting the country – are more relevant today than ever. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure the participation of foreign athletes, which will make these competitions more attention-grabbing, competitive and attractive to both spectators and host regions.
I ask the Government to take responsibility for the preparation and conduct of these Spartakiad games and to reflect the topics that we will discuss today in the concept for preparing Russia’s sport reserves and coordinate it with the regions.
For their part, the regions should update their lists of the core sporting events that they selected in their time, taking into account their ability to strictly comply with federal standards.
Talking about the sports reserve, it would be wrong to bypass the issue of ending a competitive career in sports.
First, additional measures are needed to allow those who honourably represented the country in sports to acquire new career opportunities and apply their talent and experience.
Second, it is necessary to consider ways of providing support to silver and bronze medallists of Olympic Games who have reached pension age. At present, this is done by the Russian Olympians Foundation. However, it was created – I created it myself, I initiated it, and I remember the original idea very well – to provide assistance to active athletes. And it should focus on this alone, especially considering that the next Winter Olympic Games are just around the corner. Here, I would like to observe that the results of the past winter season could have been better, to put it mildly.
Today, Pavel Kolobkov will talk about preparations for the 2018 Games in Korea and the next games, in Japan and China.
I would like to draw your attention to the region where the Olympic Games will be held. We should do our best to ensure that our national teams train for these games in similar geographical conditions and at the same time we should begin to identify and support promising athletes with a view to the 2024 Games. Today, Vitaly Smirnov will also brief the Council on the nationwide plan to fight doping.
Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov: Along with the main task that you, Mr President, have already mentioned, which is getting people involved in regular physical fitness and sport – it is also important to ensure that Russian athletes are performing at a high level. According to the Strategy for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport, our goal is to be among the top three medal winners at the Olympic Games. The system of training our sports reserve is based on this idea. It includes over 5,000 sports organisations, almost 50,000 sports facilities and 3.3 million athletes, including 12,500 members of Russian national teams.
Over 4,000 specialists work with our teams and 95,000 coaches train our sports reserve.
The funding of this work is consolidated – it comes from both the federal and regional budgets. It grew by almost 10 billion rubles in 2016 as compared to 2014 to reach 132 billion rubles. In the past three years the federal budget paid over 1.8 billion rubles to develop core sports alone in the regions of the Russian Federation. Our experts are continuously upgrading the regulatory framework and developing the federal law on sports. On your instructions, our experts prepared a draft concept of the federal sports reserve. It has been coordinated with federal executive bodies and approved by 83 Russian regions and 41 sports federations.
The sports reserve system allows us to replenish our teams with new athletes in order to compete adequately in international sports. We discussed athletic training in detail at the meeting with the Prime Minister on May 12. Today, our national teams include about 12,500 athletes in 57 Olympic sports and over 2,000 Paralympic athletes.
Our three-tier management system allows us to organise targeted training of Russian athletes for competitions. The first tier is the organising committee on training Russian athletes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games at the level of the Government of the Russian Federation. The second tier is the training headquarters that includes representatives of our major federations and the Olympic and Paralympic committees, the Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) and Russian regions under the guidance of the Ministry of Sport. It holds meetings on a monthly basis. The third tier is the Expert Council of the Ministry of Sport that unites reputable coaches, scientific associates and other key specialists. The Council analyses training plans for the teams and issues recommendations for successful performance at competitions.
The analytical department of the Federal Centre for Training National Teams provides all methodological support. We also have 31 integrated scientific groups on different sports, which employ 120 specialists. The FMBA provides medical-sanitary and medical-biological support to the members of our national teams and conducts in-depth medical research. Medical support for the sports reserve is provided in cooperation with the Ministry of Healthcare and the FMBA.
We are also paying a great deal of attention to summer sports. This is the first year after the Games in Rio de Janeiro when we will update the membership of our national teams and select as many athletes as we can for training for the Games in Tokyo. I must say that we have 12 federal training centres in diverse climatic zones that are directly involved in preparing national teams. They will be trained for the Games in 2018, 2020 and 2022 in the countries of the Asian-Pacific Region in the required conditions.
In all, 48.6 billion rubles were spent on designing, building and renovating facilities for high performance sports under the federal targeted programme in 2006–2015. Under the 2016–2020 programme, we plan to spend up to 10 billion rubles on upgrading training centres in Crimea, developing the sports facilities of the Yug-Sport federal centre in Sochi and Kislovodsk and also the Ozero Krugloye training complex.
At the same time, there is still a shortage of federal centres in cycling, yachting, triathlon and such new Olympic sports as rock climbing and skateboarding. We consider Crimea to be the best place for carrying out these projects. We have selected a site in Alushta where athletes were training way back in the 1980s. We are planning to build an outdoor pool and a cycling base nearby.
We are also thinking about more remote prospects. We are already starting to search for talented athletes in regions as part of the preparations for the 2024 Games. In the past season, Russia held the top team ranking both in winter and summer Olympic sports. Considering that our junior and youth teams traditionally place high in international competitions, we have good potential for the future.
Honourary Member of the Russian Olympic Committee, Head of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission Vitaly Smirnov: On May 18, a Foundation Board Meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal made a unanimous decision to allow the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to resume its operations. This decision will enter into force after we meet certain conditions. The possibility of these decisions being made has already been approved.
WADA regards the resumption of RUSADA’s operations as a major step toward implementing the road map for declaring [Russia] fully compliant and is willing to provide assistance in all areas of further activities. In particular, this week, WADA officials will come to Moscow to assist in drafting an expanded programme.
One of the topics discussed at the WADA Foundation Board Meeting was the second part of the McLaren report. According to WADA Director General Olivier Niggli, this document does not always provide sufficient evidence. We also said previously that the McLaren report lacks legal substantiation and scope. Representatives of the IOC and international federations also acknowledge this. At the same time, it is important to note that the report has encouraged us to listen to the commission’s findings, the results of its work. The fact that many Russian athletes were disqualified recently shows that the system that was in place at the time was ineffective in preventing and combatting the use of doping. Preventive mechanisms failed to work and the most unpleasant thing is that “clean” athletes, who have never broken any rules in their life, have suffered as a result.
Now the time has come for important reforms, which we hope will help make the anti-doping effort in our country more effective. In the past several months, some crucial decisions have been made: A law criminalising coercion of athletes into using performance-enhancing drugs was adopted, the Ministry of Sport withdrew from the RUSADA Foundation Board, RUSADA is now financed directly from the federal budget and its financing has been significantly increased, and the laboratory has been placed under the supervision of Moscow State University. As a matter of fact, this provision of the national anti-doping plan, which will be presented to you today, has already been implemented.
Members of the Independent Commission and leading Russian experts in sports medicine, law, education and science were involved in the work on the national plan. Representatives of the IOC, WADA and a number of international federations were cooperating with us. Using this opportunity, I would like to thank all those who contributed to the elaboration of the national plan and the work of the commission in general.
I consider it important to emphasise the attention that is devoted to anti-doping issues at all levels of government. We hope that this document will make it possible not only to restore the trust of the international sports community but will also eradicate the causes and conditions that encourage doping in sports.
The plan contains many innovative proposals, including those at world level. We hope that its implementation will substantially reduce the number of violations of anti-doping rules in this country and ultimately create a zero-tolerance attitude to doping.
Allow me to describe in detail some provisions of the national plan. As a rule, there are several factors that encourage violations of anti-doping rules. Money and career always play a major role in this respect. In this context, the plan provides for measures to monitor unfair beneficiaries in sports. Regulatory acts will have mechanisms for the recovery of the income and property of disqualified athletes and coaches that they received as awards. It will not matter how many years have passed. All benefits received from government or non-government agencies will have to be returned.
The same principle will be suggested as regards disqualified athletes if they seek to hold government or non-government positions in the field of physical fitness and sports. A person that was disqualified in the past for violating rules will be restricted or barred for life from holding such positions. Doping violations should threaten not only athletic careers but also subsequent careers.
It is strange to see how some Russian media all but glorify people who were disqualified for doping, and how these people hold government positions, appear as experts on television and in the press, and train children. We should put an end to this if we really want to create effective anti-doping propaganda.
Sports federations play a crucial role in preventing doping. The plan envisages that in case of repeated violations of anti-doping rules, a corresponding federation may be promptly stripped of state accreditation. However, [we] would like these issues to be addressed by public organisations, say, the Olympic Committee, in keeping with current international practice. I believe that will help increase the responsibility of federation heads for their anti-doping efforts.
One of the most controversial issues in sports today is the use of banned substances within the framework of so-called therapeutic use exemptions. Unfortunately, recently, we have observed world sports turn from an honest rivalry into a competition between very sick people with doctor’s certificates, as well as into a fierce struggle between pharmaceutical companies. Today, it is clear that this system needs a serious and comprehensive overhaul. The national plan envisions making proposals to reform the system of issuing therapeutic use exemptions and sending these proposals to appropriate international organisations. In particular, it is essential to ensure a universal approach toward medical examination and oversight of athletes’ health regardless of their nationality or geographical location.
At the same time we need to conduct an awareness campaign among Russian sports doctors and athletes to help them better understand the mechanisms of issuing these exemptions and using them if necessary. Figures show that these mechanisms are not used in our country. In 2015, Russian athletes received roughly two dozen such exemptions, while in other countries such exemptions are issued by the hundreds.
Another innovation for the international community will be our proposal on the mandatory testing of athletes who are being included on a national team for the first time. This is a truly revolutionary approach, which has not been used anywhere yet. This system will give us full confidence that our reservists, who join the main national teams, are ‘clean’.
In this context, there is a special need to define the legal principles of the institution of so-called informers. We realise that this is a very delicate matter, but there is no getting away from a discussion on the issue. This is a demand of the times and, importantly, one of the conditions we have to meet to restore our international status. Naturally, the possibility of abuses, the deliberate provision of false information must be precluded.
The plan has a special provision aimed at restoring the Paralympic Committee within the international community. Regrettably, literally yesterday we learned that the International Paralympic Committee has upheld the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee. The final decision on the participation of our Paralympic athletes in the Games in Korea will be only made in September. And this is taking place against the background of WADA’s positive remarks on progress in the activities of our Paralympic Committee.
We all remember the outrageous decision to ban the Russian Paralympic team from the Rio Games and must do all we can to prevent it from happening again.
The national anti-doping plan includes a whole range of measures from regulatory and organisational support to cooperation with international agencies. There are sections devoted to science, educational and information programmes. Obviously, to implement the plan we will have to make certain amendments to current legislation. We hope our MPs will help on this issue. At one time, the national plan was submitted to the relevant federal executive bodies for remarks and proposals. After it was approved at the meeting of our commission with a view to fulfilling the President’s instructions, the Government of the Russian Federation elaborated a package of measures on its implementation. We suggest that while approving the package we should put the Independent Commission in charge of public oversight of its implementation.
Sport in Russia and the world in general is undergoing difficult times and we are faced with new challenges. The fate of the future generations of athletes will largely depend on the decisions we make. Our country has an opportunity to emerge from this situation as the world leader, but to achieve this we must act rather than wait, keep ahead of others. We are in a position to establish the world’s most advanced anti-doping system. It is important to note that we have the right to hope that other countries will adopt a similar approach to anti-doping practices. I am convinced that the national anti-doping plan and its implementation will allow Russia to move in the right direction.
Vladimir Putin: As for the first question. A very important issue is the training of the sports reserve. I want to thank my colleagues who worked on the preparation of today's discussion. We will take into account all comments that were made during our discussion today and will add them to the final documents.
As for the national plan to fight doping in Russian sports. I would like to once again thank Mr Smirnov and all our colleagues who worked on this. We know the conditions they had to work under. This was an enormous task, and the work was done based solely on the principles of ensuring that sport is clean. And I think they did their best.
I agree with Mr Zhukov’s initiative that the commission should continue to work and assume the functions of independent monitoring and oversight of the implementation of a set of measures to be approved by the Russian Government in the near future based on the proposed document.
The most important thing is to create a zero-tolerance attitude towards doping in general. Perhaps it makes sense to talk about changing the applicable code. Although, I have to agree with what Mr Lukin said. I analysed the plan carefully and saw that it is really comprehensive and important. I just want to draw attention to one thing.
We know that the World Anti-Doping Agency strongly supports an idea, stated here at the end of the second section. It is about adopting and implementing measures to develop the so-called “institution of informers.”
For our country, this has special meaning. We are well aware that tragic pages in the history of our state are closely connected with this institution. Stalin's mass political repression is associated with this institution. For us, this is of particular significance. And if WADA insists on this, then I understand the authors of this plan, but for us it is very important that this institution does not quietly migrate into other spheres of life here. I want to draw your attention to this.
And it is necessary to treat this with great care, taking into account the main, noble goal of this plan, namely fostering a zero-tolerance attitude to doping and ensuring that Russian sport is clean. Of course, this is the number one task, and we all must work to implement this plan and achieve this main goal.
If we go back to the first question – the training of the sports reserve – we understand that future results in high-level sport and the resolution of the main task – promoting a healthy lifestyle and the health of our citizens – depend on a comprehensive approach to addressing this task. Sport and physical culture are directly related to this extremely important task, which we are trying to address and are discussing today.
Thank you very much.