Reports: Russia inhaled ammonia to delay fatigue during FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign

Reports: Russia inhaled ammonia to delay fatigue during FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign

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According to reports, Russian football team used ammonia inhalants during their World Cup campaign to delay fatigue and improve their performance against Spain and Croatia. Team doctor, Eduard Bezuglov insisted that it could not be construed as doping and added that it is done by many athletes.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has reported that the Russian players had sniffed ammonia, a non-banned substance, to improve their performance during their games at the World Cup and it has been confirmed by the team's doctor. The report cited a spokesperson for the Russian Football Federation, who admitted to the newspaper that one of the Russian substitutes sniffed a cotton ball doused in ammonia before coming on in the games against Spain and Croatia. On Tuesday, Eduard Bezuglov, the Russian national team's chief medical professional, seconded it by stating that the players had inhaled ammonia before the game against Spain and again ahead of the quarter-final against Croatia.

"We are talking about a simple ammoniac that you apply to buds of cotton wool and then inhale. Thousands of athletes do the same thing to give themselves a lift. It's been in use for decades. "It is not only used in sport but also in everyday life when someone loses consciousness of feel dizzy because of the strong smell it gives off. You can go to any pharmacy and buy ammonia and cotton buds. It does not constitute doping," Bezuglov was quoted as telling local media in Russia.

While ammonia has not been classed as a prohibited substance in international anti-doping regulations, it has been known to help improve athletic performance, by stimulating breathing and improving the flow of oxygen in the blood. The revelation followed a video released by German newspaper showing Russian player rubbing their noses during games. Newspaper Bild claimed that images broadcasted by the German public television of Russian players rubbing their noses during the quarter-final game against Croatia suggested that they were using the performing-enhancing substance.

Russia has been known for its doping scandal in the past as well. They has had 41 Olympic medals stripped for doping violations which has, so far, been the most of any country. Hence, this doping allegation doesn’t come as a surprise against a team which has a history of systematic doping. 

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