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No Criminal Charges to Be Filed in Russian Doping Scandal

FILE - Athletes train at the Brothers Znamensky Olympic Centre in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 10, 2015.

Athletes will not face criminal charges over what is seen as the worst doping scandal in Russia's history.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told the Sportfakt portal Friday that the general prosecutor's office had carefully examined a November report by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and did not find “a single legally supported fact to open any kind of case.”

The WADA report led to the suspension of Russia from international track and field international competition, including the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Mutko admitted, however, that Russia had withdrawn players from its national teams at major competitions, fearing that they could test positive for meldonium, a drug for patients with heart disease.

The drug was widely used as a supplement in Russian sports but was banned for 2016. The scandal erupted when Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted she'd used the drug for medical reasons before the ban.

Mutko's comments came a day after Russia replaced almost the entire national under-18 hockey team with a younger under-17 one.

The change was announced the day before the under-18 squad had been expected to fly to the United States for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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