Moscow (AFP)

In a key step to get Russian athletes back into international action Moscow has decreed a new, independent anti-doping lab, reports said on Saturday.

Russia was accused in a damaging World Anti-Doping Agency report last year of widespread state-sponsored doping.

Its athletics team was barred from last summer's Rio Olympics and has also missed the 2017 World Athletics Championships currently underway in London.

Some Russian athletes were granted permission by the IAAF to compete as neutrals in London.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev signed the decree August 10 and the move is aimed at legitimising local controls as the previous anti-doping body RUSADA has been internationally suspended since 2015.

The new set up will, unlike RUSADA, be independent of the Ministry of Sports, and instead come under the power of the State University of Moscow.

This shift conforms to the anti-doping international convention from 2005 that a testing lab be free of government authority.

Since June WADA authorised Russia to begin controls again but under the supervision of the British body UKAD, which Russian deputy Prime Minister Vitali Moutko called a great step forwards.

President Vladimir Putin has strenuously denied a system of state sponsored doping existed, but in March conceded that the old system was inefficient and that changes were needed to remedy that.

Agence France-Presse

AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.

© 2017 AFP