Russia trying to reform - IAAF task force
Russia is making efforts to reform after its damaging doping scandal, according to the head of the IAAF taskforce set up to determine whether the country's ban from global track and field should be lifted.
"The Russians have recognised that there is an issue, a problem, and they are trying to fix it," Norwegian anti-doping expert Rune Andersen told The Associated Press yesterday.
Russia was suspended by the IAAF - track and field's world governing body - from international competition, including the Olympics, in November after a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel detailed a state-sponsored doping programme.
Andersen, who heads the five-person IAAF taskforce, held meetings Monday and yesterday in Moscow with Russian government and sports officials.
"There is an open and frank discussion," he said. "There are no obstructions to what we're trying to do. Everyone wants to find solutions to the problems that Russian athletics has had today."
Andersen added that "several" more meetings are planned with "our Russian friends" before the taskforce reports back to the International Association of Athletics Federations in March.
In order for Russia to be readmitted in time for this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the IAAF has said the country must investigate doping cases, remove officials or coaches who were involved in drug use or cover-ups and establish "a strong anti-doping culture".
The Russian athletics federation is due to elect a new president Saturday as part of its own reform programme. The front-runner is long-time general secretary Mikhail Butov, who also sits on the IAAF's ruling council.
"We have talked about the structure, that's part of the verification criteria; and of course, that will be part of the discussion when we move on to this," Andersen told the AP.