Mutko agrees Isinbayeva should leave anti-doping agency

MOSCOW (AP) Russia's top state sports official agrees that Yelena Isinbayeva cannot continue as chair of the scandal-hit Russian Anti-Doping Agency because of a conflict of interest.

Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who oversees sports policy, said Isinbayeva ''will obviously leave the post as chair of the supervisory board,'' in comments to the Russian agency R-Sport on Friday.

World Anti-Doping Agency director-general Oliver Niggli said on Thursday that Isinbayeva - a prominent critic of WADA investigations into Russian doping - would have to step down to make way for a new chair who is independent of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Since the two-time Olympic pole vault champion stopped competing last year, Isinbayeva has become an International Olympic Committee member and sits on the Russian Olympic Committee board.

Isinbayeva took the anti-doping post in December. She will remain as a board member, though not chair, according to comments on Friday by Vitaly Smirnov, the head of an anti-doping advisory body set up by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It isn't clear who will succeed Isinbayeva as chair of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, known as RUSADA. The board has three Russian members who don't hold office with the government or sports organizations. They are astronaut Sergei Ryazansky, medical researcher Vladimir Chekhonin, and Alexander Ivlev, who heads the Russian operations of accountancy firm EY.

The new chair's first priority will be to select a new CEO for RUSADA after the previous acting chief executive quit in March.

There was no immediate word from Isinbayeva, who did not attend the WADA board meeting on Thursday, and instead spent the day at the Cannes film festival.

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