Russian sports minister apologizes over doping, pleads for Rio entry

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Russian Sports Minister: "Serious Mistakes Have Been Made by the Federation Management"

MOSCOW, May 15 (Reuters) - Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has issued a plea for Russia's athletes to be allowed to compete in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and apologized for the "deceptive" sportsmen caught doping in the past in an article he wrote for Britain's Sunday Times.

With less than three months before the Rio Games open in August, Moscow is seeking to have a global ban overturned to allow its track and field athletes to compete.

The All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) was suspended from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after several high-profile Russian athletes were caught red-handed in using banned performance-enhanced substances.

SEE ALSO: Whistleblower says Russian government aided doping at 2014 Olympic

"Serious mistakes have been made by the federation management, along with athletes and coaches... We are ashamed of them," Mutko said in his strongest comments over the doping scandal.

"We are very sorry that athletes who tried to deceive us, and the world, were not caught sooner. We are very sorry because Russia is committed to upholding the highest standards in sport and is opposed to anything that threatens the Olympic values."

Russia, second behind the United States in the athletics medal table at the 2012 London Olympics, is banned from all athletics after an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revealed widespread doping.

Preparations for the Rio Olympics begin:

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Russian sports minister apologizes over doping, pleads for Rio entry
An aerial view shows the X-Park at Deodoro Olympic Park ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial view shows Rio Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An athlete trains at canoe slalom at the X-Park at Deodoro Olympic Park ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows Arpoador beach (bottom) and Copacabana beach (top), which will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Men work at Rio Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows Copacabana Beach, will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial view of Copacabana Beach, which will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which will host rowing and canoe sprint, at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
The collapsed area of the new cycle lane is seen in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows Leblon Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympics golf venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Men work on the construction of a building next to the 2016 Rio Olympics golf venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Vila Autodromo slum next to 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Marina da Gloria, which will host the sailing at the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Deodoro Olympic Park ahead of 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the Vila Autodromo slum next to 2016 Rio Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial view of Copacabana Beach, which will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An aerial view shows the 2016 Rio Olympics golf venue (L) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. With 100 days to go before the Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, a host nation famous for doing things at the last minute faces a novel situation - the organisation is not an issue, political turmoil and apathy are. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes SEARCH "100 OLYMPICS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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WADA President Craig Reedie told BBC radio in an interview on Saturday that it was "highly unlikely" that Russia's anti-doping authority would be declared compliant with world sports rules in time for Rio.

Russia has to convince the IAAF that it has put in place measures to show improvement in its anti-doping operation and a "change of culture."

"We have done everything that has been asked of us by the IAAF in order to be reinstated. It would be unjust to demand all these changes and measures, witness them happen and then still punish Russia's athletes. We believe passionately in the Olympic spirit and values," Mutko said.

Mutko's ministry and the Russian Olympic Committee were not available for immediate comment. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Jason Neely)

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