Russia accuses Paralympic body of extortion over doping fees
MOSCOW (AP) Russia accused the International Paralympic Committee of ''extortion'' Wednesday after it required Russian officials to pay for extra drug-testing following the country's doping scandal.
Russia's team was banned from the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in September after a World Anti-Doping Agency report accused some of the country's leading sports officials of covering up hundreds of failed drug tests.
The IPC published a list of conditions this week that Russia must fulfill in order to be reinstated in time for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, including fees totaling 575,000 euros ($608,000) to cover ''the significant costs resulting from the increased (drug) testing'' of Russian athletes.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said the ''financial issues are exaggerated, and I'd even call them extortion.'' He also opposed a demand that Russian Paralympic chiefs cut ties with the government.
''The IPC officials think that there's no one above them but their own conscience,'' Mutko said in comments to state news agency Tass. ''What does it mean that the state shouldn't be among the management? The Paralympic movement does nothing anywhere in the world without state support.''
Other conditions in the IPC document include increased anti-doping education for athletes and staff and a demand that the Russian Paralympic Committee ''must distance itself from all political/propaganda statements issued by Russian authorities.''
Russian Paralympic officials have said they plan to study the conditions with lawyers ahead of a meeting with the IPC.