World Athletics Congress extends RusAF’s membership suspension

MOSCOW – The Congress of the global body of track and field athletics, World Athletics, voted on Wednesday to extend a membership suspension term of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) until the Russian side met all its reinstatement requirements.

A total of 126 delegates of the 2021 World Athletics Congress voted in favor of extending the suspension term for Russia’s track and field athletics body, while 18 cast their votes against and 34 delegates abstained.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said earlier in the day that the Council of the global governing body of track and field athletics recommended participants of the Congress to extend the membership suspension of RusAF until the Russian side meets all its reinstatement criteria.

Addressing the World Athletics Congress, RusAF acting President Irina Privalova expressed hope that RusAF’s work on its membership reinstatement with World Athletics would yield positive results.

"Athletics is very important for Russia. The Russian Athletics Federation enjoys strong support from the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation and the Russian Olympic Committee on our path to rejoining the global athletics family," she said.

"The Russian Athletics Federation actively promotes a policy of zero tolerance to doping. Among athletes, coaches, regional federations, and in the Russian athletics community as a whole the former culture of attitudes towards doping is undergoing a massive change," she said.

"We hope that this work will result in the restoration of the Russian Athletics Federation to the World athletics family in the near future," Privalova added.

Rune Andersen, the head of the World Athletics Russia Taskforce Group, said in his previous address to the Congress that "RusAF establishes a culture of zero tolerance towards doping in Russian athletics" and that "RusAF, RUSADA [the Russian Anti-Doping Agency], and the public authorities in Russia work together to create an effective anti-doping infrastructure that allows them and World Athletics to work effectively on anti-doping activities in Russia and in respect of Russian athletes."

"The Taskforce has been in regular communication with [RusAF acting President Irina] Privalova and her colleagues at RusAF, and we have also received weekly reports from the international experts," he continued. "Each month RusAF has provided a formal written report on the progress made against the Reinstatement Plan, and the international experts have provided their feedback on each of those reports."

"RusAF has made steady progress towards meeting the conditions set for its reinstatement to membership of World Athletics. The key milestones to date have been met, as well as the various key performance indicators set out in the Reinstatement Plan," Andersen noted.

However, he stated: "There are still people in Russian athletics who have not embraced this new culture, and there is still much work for RusAF to do to ensure that they do not exercise influence, and instead it is the new generation of athletes and coaches that push Russian athletics forward."

Andresen advised in his report to World Athletics Congress participants "that the suspension of RusAF’s membership of World Athletics will continue until Council decides that all of the conditions set by Council from time to time for the revocation of RusAF’s suspension and the consequent reinstatement of RusAF’s membership have been met."

World Athletics suspended RusAF’s membership in November 2015 following a wave of anti-doping rules violations and formed a special mission on the issue.

It, however, allowed clean athletes from Russia to participate in international tournaments under the neutral status or the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF is reinstated. The ANA status prohibited Russian athletes from participating in all international track and field tournaments under the national flag.

The World Athletics Council announced on Nov. 22, 2019 its decision to extend the suspension of RusAF’s reinstatement process, based on charges brought by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

According to World Athletics, the AIU charged RusAF "with obstructing an investigation and provisionally suspended several senior federation officials for tampering and complicity."

The provisionally suspended senior officials at that time were then-President of RusAF Dmitry Shlyakhtin and several more high-ranking people from the federation for helping to falsify documents, which Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko presented as his excuse for skipping doping tests.

In March 2020, the World Athletics Council ruled to fine RusAF USD5 million for alleged involvement of the previous executive administration’s attempt to forge official documents of high jumper Danil Lysenko. RusAF repaid the fine on Aug. 12, 2020. (TASS)

Source: Business Diary Philippines

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