Moscow: The Russian Athletics Federation is suing German state broadcaster ARD over allegations of systematic doping in Russian athletics aired in a documentary in December.
The 60-minute programme "Secret Doping Dossier: How Russia produces its Winners" contained hard-hitting claims by Russian 800m runner Iuliya Stepanova, who served a doping ban, and her husband Vitali Stepanov, who has worked for Russia`s Anti-Doping Agency RUSADA.
"We`ve launched a civil action demanding that they refute the false accusations, which tarnish the reputation of All-Russian Athletics Federation," lawyer Artem Patsev told RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday.
Patsev said that the legal action targeted the documentary maker Hans-Joachim "Hajo" Seppelt, the ARD channel`s editorial board and the Russian athletes and coaches who made the allegations against the federation`s policy.
The programme pointed the finger of blame at among others Valentin Balakhnichev who resigned as the federation`s president on Tuesday.
The 65-year-old Balakhnichev, who has presided over athletics in the country since 1991, announced: "I decided to resign. I failed to confront in full the rise of doping problems in Russia.
"And I understand that as the (athletics) federation president I`m personally responsible for it. That was the reason of my decision."
RUSADA launched an investigation into the documentary`s allegations, while World Anti-Doping Agency WADA is conducting its own probe led by the agency`s former Canadian chief Dick Pound.