IAAF refuses to lift ban on Russia
The IAAF has stated that it will not lift the ban on Russia from participating in international track and field events. This decision comes a few days before the European Championships commence in Berlin. Even though the RUSAF (Russian Athletics Federation) has made significant improvements, the international body has set some conditions, before them, to get reinstated. Here's more on the issue.
Why were the Russian athletes banned?
A 2016 report, by World Anti-Doping Agency, had accused Russia of widespread state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Games. Post it, the IAAF barred the Russia's athletics team from 2016 Rio Olympics and the World Championships in London. The IAAF, however, has permitted Russian athletes to participate, if they meet the exceptional eligibility criteria and pass transparent anti-doping tests.
Statement by head of IAAF's Russian task force
Rune Andersen, the head of IAAF's Russian task force commented, "The IAAF Council unanimously adopted the resolution that RUSAF (the Russian Athletics Federation) not be reinstated at this time". Andersen has also added that the Russians are co-operating with the investigation to a large extent. The discussions with them have been fruitful, and they shall be reinstated after meeting a few conditions.
Demands to be met by Russia for reinstatement
Th RUSAF has to meet the costs of the investigations, especially the setting up of the task force. Secondly, RUSADA has to be reinstated by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The key requirement is that it acknowledges that the Russian officials were involved in the mass-doping. Finally, Russian authorities have to provide access to the doping tests, carried out in Moscow during 2011-15.
Statements by IAAF president
Sebastian Coe, IAAF president, has commented that "Progress has been made in key areas. There are still some gaps to be filled." "We have brought about change and it is change that is very viable. But we weren't yet at that point where every element of that (reinstatement) criteria had been met." RUSAF President Dmitry has expressed his disappointment at the decision.