IAAF maintains status quo on Russia suspension

The IAAF is not ready to lift Russia’s suspension from competition as the country fails to fully accept the findings of an investigation into its state-sponsored doping scheme.

A meeting of the international athletics federation’s member associations in London on Thursday will be asked to maintain the ban on Russia that was imposed in 2015 after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren exposed how failed drug tests were covered up.

Rune Andersen, the IAAF’s Russia taskforce chairman, wants assurances that the McLaren report’s findings “have been properly acknowledged and addressed, and there will be no repetition.”

The Russian athletics federation “has not yet demonstrated to the satisfaction of the taskforce that it has established a strong anti-doping culture within its sport, or that it has created an open environment that encourages whistleblowing,” Andersen said in his latest report to the IAAF Council on Monday.

Andersen acknowledged in the document that Russia is making progress in cleaning up its doping culture, including “satisfactory cooperation” with French criminal authorities in an investigation, but said action is still required in key areas.

A “small number” of athletics disciplinary cases that were ongoing in 2015 remain unresolved, a “few” athletes flagged in WADA’s doping investigation are yet to be interviewed, and Anderson is concerned that banned coaches are still working in the sport.

“There is a long way to go until they can conduct the testing which we consider to be meaningful,” Andersen told reporters. “We are working with the Russians on the changing culture. There are some good movements now started from the athletes themselves wanting to change, but they haven’t shown and demonstrated to us that this is in place.”

IAAF president Sebastian Coe is leaving it to Andersen’s taskforce to decide when Russia should be allowed back into the sport’s fold.

“Although there is progress, there is still more work to be done,” Coe said.

The only Russians competing at the world championships in London, which begin Friday, are those cleared to compete as neutrals after the IAAF assessed their history of drug testing.

The 19 athletes given exemptions include three former world champions, but they won’t be allowed to wear national colours and the Russian anthem won’t be played if they win gold.

 

 

Aisha JM