FIFA Act on Rostov Rumours


The entire starting line-up of second place Rostov was subjected to a surprise doping test from FIFA after yesterday’s 3-1 away win over Dinamo Moscow.

The test was conducted in order to find any evidence of banned substance meldonium, the use of which came to prominence earlier this year when Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova announced that she had failed a drugs test.

FIFA decided to act on rumours circulating about Rostov players using the drug. Results from the test are expected to be published in the near future.

Speaking to the AP, FIFA medical officer Jiri Dvorak explained: “We have today done an unannounced (doping) control of a football club, Rostov.”

He continued: “We tested the entire team, the 11 who were on the start list. The entire procedure took two hours. It is done and the samples will be tested in one of the accredited laboratories in Europe.”

Dvorak confirmed that FIFA had taken notice of the rumours. He said: “There were some rumours in the media about meldonium and Rostov ordering meldonium. What is true on it, I can’t really say. We are not really following every rumour but (with) the current situation with meldonium we thought it is a good example just to do it.”

On 9th March, news agency Gazeta reported that Rostov, who have gone from relegation strugglers to title challengers à la Leicester City, had planned to order meldonium last December. Gazeta wrote, ‘The transaction was announced on 17th December 2015 and consisted of two parts. The first, at a cost of 1 million roubles, was for medical products, sporting nutrition and means for the recovery and rehabilitation of players in the senior and youth squads of Rostov.’

The second part, reported Gazeta, cost 1.5 million roubles and was similar to the first. However, ‘in addition to the bandages, ointments and coolants on the list, there was the scandalous Actovegin and the forbidden Mildronate.’ The latter is another name for meldonium.

Meldonium was not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency until 1 January 2016 but they announced their decision to forbid it last September.  The drug increases blood flow, which allows for more oxygen to be carried to the muscles.

Meldonium can be traced in the blood in up to three months after it is taken, as explained to Russian Football News in March by Eduard Bezuglov, a doctor on the Russian national team in football.

Actovegin, although not on the WADA banned substances list, is considered to be a performance-enhancer and was used by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Meldonium has for a long time been considered nothing more than a vitamin in Russia, and it used to be very popular amongst the clubs. “Almost every doctor from the former Soviet Union,” Luch Energiya defender Evgeniy Kirisov told Russian Football News, “Included mildronate in the complex of drugs used during training camps and competitions.”

Sport Express wrote that yesterday’s testing was ‘unprecedented in Russian football’, while Rostov midfielder Christian Noboa described what happened, “It is unreal,” he said. “All 11 players are sitting and waiting for doping control. There has never been anything like this. They have always only chosen two people; now 11…how is this? Well, we will wait.”

Nothing is known about the outcome of the doping tests at the moment, and when asked Rostov’s players and coaches have all denied the accusations of them using illegal performance enhancing drugs.


Follow John on Twitter: @John_CRFC

Author: John Gorrod

I spent the 2015-16 academic year studying Russian at the Tver State University. One day, I visited the stadium of third-division Volga Tver and ended up helping the fans to paint the fences around the pitch. We became firm friends and they introduced me to the wonderful world of Russian football.


  1. […] Media speculation stated that the club had planned to order the drug at the end of last year, reports. […]

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