IAAF decision on Russia ban likely at year end

The spotlight is now on world athletics chief Sebastian Coe to allow Russia back into international track and field competition when the IAAF Council meets in Monaco, on Dec 4, 2018.
The spotlight is now on world athletics chief Sebastian Coe to allow Russia back into international track and field competition when the IAAF Council meets in Monaco, on Dec 4, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BUENOS AIRES • World athletics chief Sebastian Coe revealed on Wednesday that a decision on whether or not Russia will have their ban from international competition lifted "will probably" be made in December.

However, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) admitted in an interview with Agence France-Presse that he was adopting a "wait and see" approach on whether the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) was right to lift its three-year ban on Rusada, Russia's own anti-doping agency.

The ban was introduced in 2015 after Russia's Ministry of Sport was found guilty of masterminding institutional doping.

And the spotlight is now on Coe to allow Russia back into international track and field competition when the IAAF Council meets in Monaco on Dec 4.

When asked if there would be a decision on Russia's reinstatement, the 62-year-old told AFP: "Yes there will be. There'll be a meet in the coming weeks with the Russian Athletics Federation, as we have always done in the past.

"We will wait for the recommendations of the working group and the council will deliberate according to my recommendation. There will probably be some decision at the council meeting in December in Monaco."

Coe had said following Wada's controversial decision to lift the ban that Russia needed to meet two pre-conditions to be allowed to return to international athletics competitions.

 
 
 
 

Firstly, the Russian authorities had to acknowledge the findings of reports that sports ministry officials were implicated in the scheme to cover up the doping of Russian athletes.

Also, they must provide access to the data from testing of samples at the Moscow laboratory from 2011 to 2015, so that the Athletics Integrity Unit can determine whether the suspicious findings reported in their database should be pursued.

Coe added that time will tell if Wada - accused of betraying clean athletes by its decision to lift the Russian ban - was right.

"We'll have to see. It is very important that athletes can get answers to a very important question and that it is simple: 'Do you trust the system?'," the Briton said.

"The athletes ask that question, so the IAAF, Wada, the International Olympic Committee - all those organisations have to give evidence to the clean athletes that the system is a clean system.

"The philosophy of the IAAF was very clear. It was to try to separate the clean athletes from a contaminated system, and that is why we have a neutral status for Russian athletes.

"But, of course, it has to be our ambition to have Russian athletes again representing their country. That has to be the final goal."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2018, with the headline 'IAAF decision on Russia ban likely at year end'. Print Edition | Subscribe