Moscow: Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has apologised for his country’s athletes who have cheated over the doping scandal and also spoke out for allowing his compatriots to participate in forthcoming Rio Olympics. Russia was banned from international athletics competition after a damning report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), reports Tass. "We are very sorry that athletes who tried to deceive us, and the world, were not caught sooner. We are very sorry because Russia is committed to upholding the highest standards in sport and is opposed to anything that threatens the Olympic values," Mutko wrote in his article in The Sunday Times. "The reasons for the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) being suspended from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have been well documented. They are weighty." "Serious mistakes have been made by the federation management, along with athletes and coaches who have broken anti-doping rules and neglected the principle of fair play, so fundamental to sport for immediate benefits. Let us be clear. We are ashamed of them," he said. The doping scandal with Russian athletes erupted in December 2014 after the German TV Channel aired a documentary that said Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches. "It cannot be right that clean athletes should suffer for the behaviour of others. We do not deny having a problem in Russia, and we are doing everything possible at the state level to eradicate doping, including punishing athletes and coaches found to have violated anti-doping rules," Mutko said. "But doping is a global problem, not just a Russian one," the sports minister added.