Rune Andersen, the independent chairman of the IAAF Taskforce, delivered its latest report on the reinstatement of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).
The Taskforce’s recommendation, which Council approved, was that RusAF was not ready for reinstatement.
While acknowledging several positive developments at its recent meetings in Moscow last month with RusAF President Dimitri Shlyakhtin, Colonel Zherdev of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, 1500m runner Andrey Dmitriev and new Minister for Sport Pavel Kolobkov, the Taskforce pointed to some negative developments since its last report to Council in December.
These have included unhelpful public comments recently made by some Russian sporting officials. RusAF also continues to face practical and legal difficulties in enforcing provisional doping bans and there continues to be very limited testing of Russian track and field athletes at the national level as well as troubling incidents at what testing is taking place.
Roadmap to reinstatement
The Taskforce set out a roadmap for RusAF’s reinstatement based upon the following milestones being met:
– All outstanding Verification Criteria must be satisfied;
– The testing of Russian athletes must take place without further incidents or difficulties;
– RusAF explains why in the past it has been unable to and how in the future it will be able to enforce all suspensions imposed on athletes and athlete support personnel under its jurisdiction in an effective and timely fashion;
– There has been an appropriate official response by Russia to the McLaren findings that officials from the Ministry for Sport, the FSB, and the Centre for Sport Preparation were involved in the doping scheme, either by convincingly rebutting the findings or acknowledging and properly addressing them ;
– RusAF has taken demonstrable objective and practical steps to cultivate the clean sport movement championed by Andrey Dmitriev and other Russian athletes;
– WADA has reinstated RUSADA as the official, Code-compliant NADO for Russia.
Clear pathway to competition for clean athletes
It is the IAAF’s natural instinct to assist the competition opportunities of clean athletes. Since Russia’s suspension in November 2015, the IAAF has established a clear pathway for athletes who are not tainted by the Russian system to apply to compete internationally as neutral athletes while their federation remains suspended.
On 17 June 2016, Council amended Competition Rule 22.1 to allow athletes to apply for permission to compete, with guidelines for those applications published on 23 June 2016 and updated on 3 January 2017.
To facilitate this process, 30 Russian athletes were added to the IAAF International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP) in 2016. In addition, 10 athletes were added in January 2017, bringing the total of Russian athletes in the pool to more than 60.
Inclusion in the IRTP doesn’t guarantee an athlete’s application will be approved. There are other factors that will be considered by the Doping Review Board (DRB). In particular, the DRB continues to work through the evidence and intelligence concerning the names of the 200 Russian athletes forwarded by the McLaren investigation team.
Sebastian Coe commented: “Our priority is to return clean athletes to competition but we must all have confidence in the process. Clean Russian athletes have been badly let down by their national system. We must ensure they are protected and that those safeguards give confidence to the rest of the world that there is a level playing field of competition when Russians return. This is why the IAAF has increased the number of Russians in the IRTP to guarantee they have undergone a long term recognised, independent and fully WADA Code-compliant drug-testing programme.”
As of today, 35 Russian athletes have so far applied in 2017 to compete as neutral athletes in international competition.
Today Council approved the Taskforce’s recommendation that RusAF be required to officially endorse each application submitted to the DRB.
Also upon the Taskforce’s further recommendation Council granted a blanket approval to all under-15 Russian athletes to compete in international competitions, such as the European Youth Olympic Festival, which will be held in Györ, Hungary from 22 to 30 July.