IAAF Outlines Path to Redemption for Russian Athletics

(ATR) Sebastian  Coe says Russia must demonstrate “verifiable change” before track and field athletes may compete at Rio 2016.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Gold medalist Mariya Savinova (L) of Russia celebrates with bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia after the Women's 800m Final on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Gold medalist Mariya Savinova (L) of Russia celebrates with bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia after the Women's 800m Final on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

(ATR) International Association of Athletics Federations president Sebastian Coe says Russia must demonstrate "verifiable change" before its track and field athletes may compete at Rio 2016.

In a statement released Dec. 11, the IAAF established three reinstatement conditions the All-Russian Athletics Federation must satisfy in order to demonstrate adequate reform.

"The conditions we have announced leave no room for doubt," Coe said in the statement.

ARAF must demonstrate compliance with all World Anti-Doping Agency programs and IAAF anti-doping policies, the ability of the IAAF and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency to carry out anti-doping activities upon RUSADA’s reinstatement and that as a result the participation of Russian athletes and personnel at competitions will not jeopardize the integrity of the events.

A Taskforce created by the IAAF will oversee the ARAF as it satisfies these conditions by cleaning house, resolving pending disciplinary cases, investigating further cases, drug-testing and results management and establishing a strong anti-doping culture moving forward.

"Russia must demonstrate verifiable change across a range of criteria and satisfy our Taskforce that those criteria will be met permanently," said Coe.

As part of the effort to initiate permanent change, the IAAF is requiring that ARAF "clean house", severing ties with any staff, officers or directors implicated in the past doping practices. The ARAF must also introduce a comprehensive code of ethics and term limits for its officials.

Any pending disciplinary cases must be resolved quickly by the ARAF and the federation must commit to further investigations of athletes and personnel.

The criteria outlined by the IAAF demonstrate that the federation is not looking for a quick fix to the doping problems in Russia, with Coe adding "there is no timeline" for the country to implement the reforms.

It is feasible that ARAF could enact these changes in the six months remaining until next summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. However, any Russian track and field athlete wishing to compete at the Games after reinstatement must submit to extensive doping tests.

These athletes will be subject to three drug tests without notice in the six months leading up to the competition they wish to compete in. Endurance athletes are subject to at least three Athlete Biological Passport tests.

Until RUSADA is declared code-compliant by WADA, the samples will be collected by international doping control officers and sent to WADA-accredited labs outside of Russia.

All changes provided by the IAAF seek to create "a strong culture of anti-doping" in Russia. The IAAF will receive signed declarations by athletes, officials and support personnel associated with the ARAF to ensure they are "committed to clean sport moving forward".

The next step for ARAF is to create a coordination committee that is charged with implementing the changes sought by the IAAF. The coordination committee will submit its members’ resumes and full contact details to the IAAF.

The ARAF coordination committee will meet regularly with the IAAF Taskforce to monitor progress. The two bodies will decide on a date for the first inspection by the taskforce that will take place in January 2016.

Written by KevinNutley

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