LONDON • Russia has launched a legal challenge to overturn its ban from international athletics.
The Times of London has obtained a copy of a letter from the country's athletics federation to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in which it demands that its ban be lifted and reveals that it has lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The move comes days after the controversial decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) to lift a three-year suspension on Rusada, Russia's anti-doping agency, after a compromise was agreed about allowing access to the Moscow laboratory and over the country admitting responsibility for the doping scandal.
The letter from Russia's athletics federation (Rusaf) claims that the criteria for its ban to be lifted were "identical" to those affecting the anti-doping agency.
"In the meantime, however, Rusaf has no choice but to protect its rights and, accordingly, has filed today an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the IAAF Council's decision to extend Rusaf's suspension," it added.
This latest development will give fresh fuel to Wada's critics who believe that the decision would undermine the battle against doping.
One senior figure said that the legal challenge was a direct consequence of Wada accepting a compromise, and that Russia was now using bullying tactics to end its exclusion from international athletics competitions.
In his letter to the IAAF president Sebastian Coe, Dmitry Shlyaktin, the president of Rusaf, demanded that the federation be reinstated.
It has been banned since November 2015, athletics being the only sport to have imposed a blanket suspension.
Asked about the letter, the IAAF said: "We have led the way to fight for clean athletes and we will continue to do so."
The IAAF intends to maintain its ban until at least a council meeting in December and wants its own investigators to be given access to samples and data from the Moscow laboratory.
Under the deal done by Wada, an independent person agreed by Wada and Russia would be given that access. The IAAF also wants full admission of the findings of the McLaren report into the scandal.
THE TIMES, LONDON