IAAF maintains Russia's athletics ban

2018-12-04 15:08
Doping (File)

Monaco - The governing body of world athletics on Tuesday maintained Russia's ban from track and field over mass state-backed doping, citing two conditions before the powerhouse can return to international competition.

Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF's taskforce on Russia, said Russian authorities, in the form of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), had to grant access to data from testing of samples at a Moscow laboratory from 2011 to 2015.

The second condition is that Russia must pay the IAAF's costs incurred in the work of the taskforce and in bringing or defending Russian cases at the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

Access to the samples would hand the Athletics Integrity Unit, the independent body that manages all doping and non-doping integrity-related matters in athletics, the opportunity to determine whether any suspicious findings should be investigated.

"I hope they'll deliver the data by the end of this year," Andersen said of the samples taken and stored in the Moscow laboratory.

"But I cannot go any further than that.

"We've received no assurances it will be delivered to us directly.

"Assurances have been given to WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and WADA have set a deadline of December 31 to receive the data. We'll have to rely on receiving the data from WADA before handing it to the AIU to examine the data before we are satisfied that the data is correct data."

The International Association of Athletics Federation's decision means Russia will not, for the moment, be able to compete under its own flag at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in February 2019, with the IAAF Council not scheduled to meet again until March.

Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) president Dmitry Shlyaktin said the decision was no surprise.

"It is not a surprise but we did have hope, because RUSAF has worked very hard (to comply with IAAF demands)," he told Interfax news agency.

He said negotiations were underway on debt repayment and access to doping control data.

Andersen insisted that the task force’s relationship with the Russians was "business-like" and expressed the view that the end was in sight after three years of talks, longer than expected.

"We see the glimmer of light (at the end of the tunnel) all the time," he added.

"There has been progress all the way. Many of the criteria has been met by Russia, either by USAF or Russian authorities," he said.

Andersen, however, dodged the politically sensitive question of whether he thought Russia had truly acknowledged the findings of the McLaren and Schmid reports, a major sticking point on the taskforce's initial criteria.

"We consider that the substance of what was in the Schmid report has been met, that has been acknowledged by Russia," Andersen said, adding that the major difference between that and the McLaren report was the absence of a reference to Russia's FSB security service.

"There has been an acknowledgement of the involvement of persons in the state, that is clear. Whether that means that you can draw that line to say that it has been an acknowledgement of state-sponsored doping, that remains for everyone to determine on what's been written, but it's been finely worded by Russia."

Russia's athletics federation was initially banned by the IAAF in November 2015 over allegations of widespread government-backed doping fraud.

Its athletics team was barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and also missed the IAAF World Championships in London a year later.

A number of Russian athletes, however, have been granted permission by the IAAF to compete as neutrals after meeting the exceptional eligibility criteria, essentially demonstrating that they have come through transparent anti-doping testing.

The International Olympic Committee lifted its ban on Russia at the end of the Pyeongchang Olympics while WADA in September lifted its ban on RUSADA for non-compliance.

WADA drew heavy international criticism when it voted to declare RUSADA "compliant", before being granted access to Moscow raw data.

It responded by promising it will impose new sanctions if Russia did not cooperate by December 31 and a team visited the Russian capital last week and another is due next week to carry out an audit.

The WADA decision led RUSAF to appeal against its IAAF suspension at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Here are the main events in the long-running Russian doping controversy:

- December 2014 -

German broadcaster ARD airs documentary alleging systematic doping in Russian athletics. A week later, Russian athletics chief and the treasurer of world athletics body IAAF, Valentin Balakhnichev, and IAAF marketing consultant Pape Massata Diack, son of then-IAAF president Lamine Diack, step down. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sets up an independent commission headed by its former chief, Dick Pound, to investigate the claims.

- August 2015 -

ARD airs a second documentary with new accusations aimed at Russian and Kenyan athletes based on a leaked IAAF database with details of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 competitors which revealed "extraordinary" levels of doping. 

- November 2015 -

WADA's report calls on Russia's track and field team to be banned from international competition, including from the 2016 Rio Olympics, until "state-sponsored" doping is eradicated. The IAAF suspends the Russian athletics team. WADA also suspends Russia's national anti-doping body, RUSADA, over non-compliance.

- January 2016 -

WADA's second report into doping and corruption is published. It says high-ranking IAAF officials must have known about the wide scope of doping.

- May 2016 -

Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory, goes public with details about an organised Russian doping campaign at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

- July 2016 -

Barely two weeks before the Rio Olympics, Canadian law professor Richard McLaren releases an explosive report for WADA outlining state-run Russian doping at Sochi Games and other major sports events. WADA calls for Russia to be banned from Rio.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stops short of an outright ban and says individual sports federations will have to decide whether to allow Russian athletes.

- December 2016 -

Second part of McLaren report is published, alleging state-sponsored Russian doping between 2011 and 2015, with sample-tampering at the 2012 London Olympics and Sochi 2014, where Russia topped the medals table.

- December 2017 -

Vitaly Mutko, Russia's deputy prime minister, uses a speech before the draw for the 2018 World Cup in Russia to slam doping allegations as "an attempt to create an image of an axis of evil".

Following its own investigations, the IOC bans the Russian Olympic Committee from the Pyeongchang Games but says clean Russian athletes will be able to take part as neutral competitors. Mutko receives a lifetime Olympic ban.

- January 2018 -

Some 168 Russian athletes are cleared by the IOC to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

- May 2018 -

Mutko loses his sports brief in a new government announced less than one month before the start of the Russia-hosted World Cup.

- September 2018 -

WADA controversially lifts its three-year ban on RUSADA, despite not having been granted access to its Moscow laboratory.

The Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) then registers an appeal by the Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) against its suspension by IAAF.

- December 2018 -

Russian sports officials announce that WADA experts will return to Moscow next week to conduct an audit of RUSADA.

IAAF extends its ban on the RUSAF, the ninth time since the initial suspension, saying certain criteria for reintegration had not been met.

Read more on:    iaaf  |  russia  |  athletics


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