Russian govt pays doping fine for its track federation

MOSCOW • Russia's athletics federation (Rusaf) on Wednesday said it had paid a doping fine with help from the country's sports ministry to avoid expulsion from track and field's global governing body.

Last month, World Athletics said the federation would be expelled if it failed to pay US$6.3 million (S$8.6 million), a sum that includes a fine for breaching anti-doping rules, before Saturday.

The Russian sports ministry said earlier on Wednesday it had "made an unprecedented decision" to give Rusaf a "one-time subsidy to develop the sport, including to pay off a debt to World Athletics".

It would also "continue to render support and assistance in the implementation of a plan to enforce a zero-tolerance attitude towards doping and reinstating Rusaf membership in World Athletics".

An expulsion would have meant Russian athletes would be sidelined from international competitions including the delayed Tokyo Games, which are scheduled to start on July 23 next year.

It would also have excluded those who had previously been authorised to compete as neutrals.

The US$6.3 million payment was the remaining part of a US$10 million fine that Rusaf paid off only partially by July 1.

Rusaf has been suspended since 2015, and its athletes were barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics, with the farcical situation heavily criticised by Russia's top athletes, including three-time world high jump champion Maria Lasitskene.

While the fine has been settled, World Athletics is still demanding the body set out a detailed plan for its reinstatement by Aug 31, including commitments to anti-doping and governance reforms.

In response, Rusaf revealed the plan was being developed with the involvement of Russia's Olympic Committee and Russia's anti-doping laboratory as well as its sports ministry.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2020, with the headline 'Russian govt pays doping fine for its track federation'. Print Edition | Subscribe