IAAF Taskforce: Russian athletes will be able to compete individually at international events

Russian track and field athlete, Darya Klishina, managed to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games via the International Registered Testing Pool. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

05.12.2016

By Mads A. Wickstrøm
The IAAF Taskforce recommends an extension of the allowance of individual Russian track and field athletes into international competitions. The ongoing suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) however, continues.

On December 1, Rune Andersen, head of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Taskforce said that the suspension of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) and its athletes will continue until the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), currently suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), is reinstated, according to Inside the Games.

“Discussions are ongoing between WADA and the Russian authorities on a roadmap for RUSADA to begin operations again as a fully compliant NADO hopefully before the end of 2017,” Andersen said at the Special IAAF Council meeting on December 1.

The IAAF Taskforce has, since November 2015, been charged with overseeing the Russian athletics federation’s progress towards new reforms meant to tackle the issues of state-sponsored doping and mass corruption in sport, as revealed in a 2015 report commissioned by WADA.

Vitaly Mutko, Russian Deputy Minister for Sport, is reported by Russian news agency TASS as saying; “I hope that the All-Russian Athletics Federation will be reinstated by the start of the spring season”.

Whether RUSADA is capable of conducting effective anti-doping procedures without outside interference remains a key issue of which Russia needs to provide convincing evidence.

Russian athletes, however, are allowed to participate in international competitions by providing a satisfactory history of doping tests to the IAAF International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP). For Russian athletes to be eligible to compete at international events they have to be in the IRTP for a minimum of six months prior to an event. Furthermore, the athletes must have “undergone at least three no notice out-of-competition tests and, all of which must have been conducted in strict compliance with all applicable International Standards”, according to information obtained by Inside the Games.

The road to reinstatement

In a meeting with the IAAF Council on December 1, Rune Andersen restated the three criteria for Russian reinstatement:

  1. RusAF (ARAF was recently renamed RusAF) must comply with the World Anti-Doping Code and the IAAF Anti-Doping rules.
  2. The IAAF and RUSADA must be able to conduct their anti-doping programme in Russia without interference.
  3. The reintegration of Russian athletes into international competitions must not jeopardise the integrity of those competitions.

According to Andersen, RusAF has made progress towards fulfilling the criteria including “rolling out anti-doping modules for coaches and athletes, imposing clear contractual and regulatory obligations on coaches and athletes and strengthening its ability to enforce its rules effectively”. Additionally, “the Russian Parliament has passed a law that makes it a criminal offence for coaches and other support persons to supply prohibited substances to athletes,” Andersen noted.

The IAAF Taskforce is scheduled to visit Moscow in January 2017 on the backdrop of the findings of the final report developed by Richard McLaren on behalf of WADA. The report is due to be released on December 9.  

The creation of an IAAF independent integrity unit

On December 3, IAAF delegates at the Special Congress in Monaco voted in favour of a package of new measures concerning the creation of a new independent integrity unit.

“It strikes me that the new Integrity Unit could play a very important role in future speeding up the resolution of cases and imposition of sanctions, and in helping the IAAF monitor and guide the efforts of non-compliant national federations to bring themselves back into compliance with the anti-doping and other integrity requirements of IAAF members,” Rune Andersen said.

The independent Integrity Unit will manage all cases of doping and non-doping matters, a responsibility which, historically, has been at the national level. The intention behind the creation of an integrity unit is to simplify the legal processes concerning anti-doping violations by athletes participating in international competitions. According to Inside the Games, the integrity unit will report annually to the IAAF Congress but it will, however, have its own board as well as staff and will furthermore be housed and operated separately from the IAAF.

Additionally, the IAAF Special Congress voted in favour of a resolution for constitutional reform and member federations backed a series of governance structure reforms with the aim of creating a more transparent and accountable sports administration.

“We must put in place the structures that will keep our sport and athletes safe on and off the field of play, in and out of the stadium. It is bad enough that any of this happened once BUT it cannot happen a second time. Not on our watch and not on anyone else’s watch. We have to step up and ensure the walls are never too high again and that checks and balances are in place and working,” IAAF President, Sebastian Coe said in his opening speech at the Special Congress.

 

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