IAAF Votes to Extend Russian Suspension

(ATR) IAAF Congress votes to uphold Russia ban as anti-doping leaders publish roadmap for Russia reinstatement.

(ATR) Athletics and anti-doping leaders say more work needs to be done by Russia to change its doping culture and accept responsibility for past transgressions before being welcomed back into the international family.

On Aug. 3, 166 International Association of Athletics Federations members voted to approve the recommendation of its Council, continuing Russia’s athletics ban from all competition. The vote, however, was not unanimous, with 21 national federations voting to end the ban.

Yesterday, the World Anti-Doping Agency published its ‘Roadmap to Compliance’ for the Russia Anti-Doping Agency, which outlines 12 tasks yet to be completed by RUSADA as the reason it remains non code-compliant with international doping standards. WADA also recognized nearly 20 steps taken by RUSADA to rejoin the international community, including establishment of new leaders and cooperation with United Kingdom Anti-Doping.

First among the 12 remaining steps is a full acknowledgement and acceptance by Russian authorities of the findings in the McLaren reports, two independent investigations that uncovered widespread doping cover-ups among Russian athletes, coaches and sports administrators.

Other provisions include continuing to train competent doping leaders, obtaining fiscal autonomy from the Russian government and the release of the Moscow Laboratory’s stored urine samples currently blocked by a Russian federal investigation. RUSADA must also be audited by WADA before code-compliance can be reestablished, a process WADA expects to begin in September.

While the majority of these guidelines are expected to be completed, a full acknowledgement by Russian authorities of its doping malpractice will likely be the most difficult to attain.

Chairman of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission (PLA) Vitaly Smirnov told R-Sport that while the country’s sports and government leaders accept failures in some areas, they will continue to deny accusations levied in the McLaren reports as they have since the beginning of their ban in November 2015.

"As for the report, we have repeatedly said that it contains certain controversial positions and provisions, and representatives of our sports organizations have already expressed themselves," Smirnov told R-Sport. "Undoubtedly, no one accepts this report."

Russian Deputy Prime Minister and former sports minister Vitaly Mutko says that officials are working with WADA to become code-compliant but seemed to echo the sentiments of Smirnov.

"They just wait for Russia's position, but we proceed from the fact that the Russian President publicly expressed the position of the country," Mutko told R-Sport. "If someone abused something, broke it, we will inform both WADA and everyone."

While the Russian Athletics Federation remains suspended from the IAAF World Championships that begin Friday in London, 19 Russian athletes have been cleared to compete as neutral athletes. If any of these athletes wins a gold medal before the close of competition on Aug. 13, the IAAF anthem will play opposed to the Russian national anthem.

Homepage photo: IAAF

Written by Kevin Nutley

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