IAAF upholds ban on Russian athletics
The ban on Russian athletics remains, says the IAAF but leaves loophole for athlete whistleblowers to compete independently at the Rio Olympics.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) upholds the ban on Russian athletics (RusAF), which was imposed as a result of investigations into an alleged state-run doping programme in Russian athletics.
“Although good progress has been made, the IAAF Council was unanimous that RusAF had not met the reinstatement conditions and that Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public. As a result, RusAF has not been reinstated to membership of the IAAF at this stage,” said IAAF president Seb Coe according to a press release about the decision.
Rune Andersen, who has chaired the IAAF Taskforce tasked with assessing Russian athletics' progress in terms of restoring an effective anti-doping system, explained that RusAF had not met important verification criteria.
The Taskforce had four recommendations for the IAAF Council, which were all unanoumously accepted:
1. Not to reinstate RusAF because the "deep-seated culture of tolerance (or worse) for doping [...] appears not to have changed materially to date".2. Not to let niether athletes, coaches, officials nor other representatives of RusAF to be active in activities of the IAAF.
3. To allow individual athletes who can show that they are "not tainted by the Russian system" to apply for permission to compete as a neutral athlete.
4. To allow athletes who have made an "extraordinary contribution to the fight against doping in sport" to apply for the same kind of permission and to particularly favour the case of Yuliya Stepanova.
“The council was unanimous in accepting the recommendations and sending a very clear signal to athletes and the public about our intention to reform our sport," Coe said in the press release. "I am proud also that the Council accepted the recommendation to refer Yuliya Stepanova’s application to an appropriate panel under this amended rule as soon as possible. With the assistance of the Taskforce we will continue to work with RusAF on the reinstatement of Russian athletes as soon as possible.”
The IAAF Council announced the decision at a press conference this afternoon in Vienna.
Russian athletics were banned from international competition after the release of a WADA commissioned report detailing systematic doping in the country.