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Gary Lineker: Tweet about doping in football was 'naive'

ESPN FC's Craig Burley does not feel Russia will emerge from Group A that also contains Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Uruguay.

Gary Lineker has attempted to distance himself from claims he made about doping in sport -- particularly football -- in the wake of the ban on Russia competing in next year's Winter Olympics.

Lineker, who presented the World Cup draw in Russia last week, had come in for criticism for his decision to accept the invitation to host, having been highly critical of FIFA in the past.

Vitaly Mutko, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and former sports minister, claimed last week that there was no proof of systematic doping in the country ahead of the World Cup draw.

The International Olympic Committee's ban included Mutko's exclusion from any participation in all future Olympic Games, although he remains in charge of the 2018 World Cup.

In response to continued criticism of his role in the draw, Lineker tweeted: "It's not the Olympics. I was hosting FIFA's WC not Russia's.

"Also doping is not really an issue in football. Doping doesn't help players play better. No amount of drugs will help you pass, dribble, shoot or even help Russia win."

Lineker later said that he had chosen his words badly, adding: "I've deleted that tweet. Wasn't worded well. I may be naive, it's not my area of expertise and I'm probably guilty of not wanting it to be the case as it would taint the sport I love.

"I'd be shocked if it was rife and genuinely, I've never experienced it."

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