IAAF extends Russian ban
The IAAF extended its ban on Russia's participation in international competitions yesterday, with no clarity on whether the suspension may be lifted before next year's World Championships in Qatar.
Sticking to a harder line than the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee, a meeting of the IAAF council wasn't prepared to draw the line under the scandal of Russian doping and cover-ups.
The IAAF still has two remaining conditions for Russia to be reinstated. It wants the country to pay its substantial costs, including legal costs, incurred from dealing with the Russian doping crisis.
"This debt must be settled," said Rune Andersen, who heads the IAAF task force dealing with Russia. While Russia has promised to pay, "We need to receive the money."
The IAAF also is pressuring for its anti-doping unit to get access to data and drug-test samples from a Moscow laboratory that could help identify more Russian athletes suspected of doping.
"Russian athletes cannot return to international competition unconditionally until that such issue is resolved one way or another," he said.
The IAAF stance won outside praise. British sports minister Mims Davies said it sent "a clear message that Russia must co-operate fully before it can be back in the fold."
A REFRESHING REMINDER
The US Anti-Doping Agency said upholding the ban "is a refreshing reminder that anti-doping decision-making should always be built on principles. We all hope a clean Russia returns to the international sporting community, but not at the expense of clean athletes."
The Moscow lab data could reach the IAAF via the WADA, which has set a year-end deadline to receive it. Track and field's anti-doping unit would then have to analyse the information to satisfy the IAAF that it "hasn't been tampered with", Andersen said.
Unclear was how long all this might take. IAAF President Sebastian Coe noted the next IAAF council meeting is scheduled for March. The World Championships open in Doha in late September.
In a statement, Russian Athletics Federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said "regulating our debts financially requires a lot of work and in-depth consideration. We need to draw up various legal documents and discuss the payment arrangements. We're also talking with the IAAF about possibly paying in instalments over six months."
Russian media have reported the debt is around $2.75 million.
Shlyakhtin also said providing WADA with access to the Moscow laboratory samples "will obviously take some time, we recognise that."
The IAAF has allowed dozens of leading Russians to compete as neutrals if they can show an extensive history of passing drug tests. These include athletes such as Maria Lasitskene, who next year will look to defend the high jump world title she won in 2017.
The IAAF also announced that Budapest will host the 2023 World Championships, after Doha next year and Eugene, Oregon, in 2021. The decision was expected because the IAAF had already said the Hungarian capital was its preferred choice.