Russia's IAAF ban extended

Athletics federation may be expelled in July if it still doesn't meet anti-doping criteria

NEW YORK • Athletics' world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said on Tuesday that Russia's athletics federation is risking permanent expulsion if it does not begin complying with a series of two-year-old anti-doping requirements that the country has shown little inclination to fulfil.

Fed up with what he described as foot-dragging by Russia's sports officials in the wake of revelations about its state-sponsored doping programme, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said the organisation will meet in July to consider a new set of punishments after extending the country's ban.

Those sanctions could include ending the practice of allowing Russian athletes to compete as neutrals if they can prove they have not used performance-enhancing drugs, or in a more drastic measure, expelling Russia's track and field federation from the IAAF.

As part of a pathway to reintegration, Russia was supposed to acknowledge that the doping scheme that lasted at least from 2008 to 2015 was part of a systemic effort to corrupt sports, but it has not done so.

It has also failed to identify athletes in a database of individuals suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.

"There is no ambiguity about the criteria, and the criteria was agreed," Coe said after a council meeting in Birmingham.

"We want the country and their athletes back, but we want the world to be in a position to trust."

Tuesday's announcement was in stark contrast to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision last month to restore Russia to full membership status less than three months after issuing its own suspension.

The IAAF has banned Russia since November 2015, when details of widespread doping first emerged through the McLaren report.

Russia's political and sporting leaders have repeatedly denied state involvement in doping, a key sticking point in lifting the ban, although Russian athletes were allowed to compete as neutrals at last year's world championships.

In a statement, the IAAF said "while some conditions have been met... several key areas have still not been satisfied by Russia's athletics federation and Russia's anti-doping agency".

Russia is still regarded as non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and Coe said the IAAF would not wait indefinitely for Russia to come into compliance, adding: "It is in nobody's interest to be sitting here in no man's land."

Coe also addressed the criticism levelled against him in the UK digital, culture, media and sport committee report that was published on Monday for "misleading" remarks about Russian doping and over the failure to publish a study into doping in athletics.

"We've read the report and I didn't mislead," he insisted.

It is understood that Coe will point out that the answers highlighted by the committee did not correspond to the relevant questions he was asked when he gave evidence in December 2015, and he will write to British MPs to complain that they have misrepresented his remarks.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2018, with the headline 'Russia's IAAF ban extended'. Subscribe