Monaco, February 7: The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has extended Russia’s suspension from international competition for state-sponsored doping. According to this suspension, all Russian players will not be able to compete in the upcoming World Athletics Championships. However, some Russians may be able to compete under a neutral banner, if they can satisfy testing criteria.
Notably, the special task force was setup by IAAf in order to examine all the details about Russia’s stand and to decide whether Russia suspension should be extended or not. But task force following the roadmap voted against Russia’s full reinstatement. Sebastian Coe, the head of IAAF on Monday after said a council meeting in Monaco said that Russia should not expect “full reinstatement” before November.
IAAF while “acknowledging several positive developments” at recent meetings in Moscow with RusAF, the Russian Athletics Federation, the Taskforce also “pointed to some negative developments” including “unhelpful public comments recently made by some Russian sporting officials”. It said that RusAF “continues to face practical and legal difficulties in enforcing provisional doping bans and there continues to be very limited testing of Russian track and field athletes at the national level as well as troubling incidents at what testing is taking place”.
The roadmap to reinstatement specifies that “testing of Russian athletes must take place without further incidents or difficulties” and that RusAF takes “demonstrable objective and practical steps to cultivate the clean sport movement”.
“Our priority is to return clean athletes to competition but we must all have confidence in the process,” said Coe at the IAAF’s Council meeting in Cap d’Ail, France. “Clean Russian athletes have been badly let down by their national system. We must ensure they are protected and that those safeguards give confidence to the rest of the world that there is a level playing field of competition when the Russians return,” Coe added.
Coe said in his statement, “So far in 2017, 35 Russian athletes have applied to compete as neutral athletes in international competition, the statement added. More than 60 Russian athletes have been added to the IAAF’s international testing pool which, although not guaranteeing those athletes’ reinstatement, Coe said it does mean the world governing body has a greater “guarantee they have undergone a long-term recognised, independent and fully WADA Code-compliant drug-testing programme.”
Notably, Russia has been banned since November 2015 following a damaging report alleging that state-sponsored doping was rife in the country. The ban had already been extended in March and then June 2016, preventing Russia’s athletes from competing at the Rio Olympics. Interestingly, more than 1,000 Russian athletes were part of a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015, according to the McLaren report, commissioned by Wada and published in December. Importantly, London will host the World Championships between 4-13 August but Russia will not be able to participate in it.