World ath­let­ics body main­tains Rus­sia ban

‘I hope they’ll de­liver the data by the end of this year. But I can­not go any fur­ther than that’

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

The gov­ern­ing body of world ath­let­ics yes­ter­day main­tained Rus­sia’s ban from track and field over mass state-backed dop­ing, cit­ing two con­di­tions be­fore the pow­er­house can re­turn to in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Rune An­der­sen, head of the IAAF’s task­force on Rus­sia, said Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties, in the form of the Rus­sian Anti-Dop­ing Agency (RUSADA), had to grant ac­cess to data from test­ing of sam­ples at a Moscow lab­o­ra­tory from 2011 to 2015.

The sec­ond con­di­tion is that Rus­sia must pay the IAAF’s costs in­curred in the work of the task­force and in bring­ing or de­fend­ing Rus­sian cases at the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion of Sport (CAS). Ac­cess to the sam­ples would hand the Ath­let­ics In­tegrity Unit, the in­de­pen­dent body that man­ages all dop­ing and non-dop­ing in­tegrity-re­lated mat­ters in ath­let­ics, the op­por­tu­nity to de­ter­mine whether any sus­pi­cious find­ings should be in­ves­ti­gated.

I hope they’ll de­liver the data by the end of this year,” An­der­sen said of the sam­ples taken and stored in the Moscow lab­o­ra­tory. “But I can­not go any fur­ther than that.

“We’ve re­ceived no as­sur­ances it will be de­liv­ered to us di­rectly.

“As­sur­ances have been given to WADA (World Anti-Dop­ing Agency) and WADA have set a dead­line of De­cem­ber 31 to re­ceive the data. We’ll have to rely on re­ceiv­ing the data from WADA be­fore hand­ing it to the AIU to ex­am­ine the data be­fore we are sat­is­fied that the data is cor­rect data.”

The In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion’s de­ci­sion means Rus­sia will not, for the mo­ment, be able to com­pete un­der its own flag at the Euro­pean In­door Cham­pi­onships in Glas­gow in Fe­bru­ary 2019, with the IAAF Coun­cil not sched­uled to meet again un­til March.

Rus­sian ath­let­ics fed­er­a­tion (RUSAF) pres­i­dent Dmitry Shlyak­tin said the de­ci­sion was no sur­prise.

“It is not a sur­prise but we did have hope, be­cause RUSAF has worked very hard (to com­ply with IAAF de­mands),” he told In­ter­fax news agency. He said ne­go­ti­a­tions were un­der­way on debt re­pay­ment and ac­cess to dop­ing con­trol data.

An­der­sen in­sisted that the task force’s re­la­tion­ship with the Rus­sians was “busi­ness-like” and ex­pressed the view that the end was in sight af­ter three years of talks, longer than ex­pected.

“We see the glim­mer of light (at the end of the tun­nel) all the time,” he added. “There has been progress all the way. Many of the cri­te­ria has been met by Rus­sia, ei­ther by USAF or Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties,” he said.

An­der­sen, how­ever, dodged the po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive ques­tion of whether he thought Rus­sia had truly ac­knowl­edged the find­ings of the McLaren and Sch­mid re­ports, a ma­jor stick­ing point on the task­force’s ini­tial cri­te­ria.

“We con­sider that the sub­stance of what was in the Sch­mid re­port has been met, that has been ac­knowl­edged by Rus­sia,” An­der­sen said, adding that the ma­jor dif­fer­ence be­tween that and the McLaren re­port was the ab­sence of a ref­er­ence to Rus­sia’s FSB se­cu­rity ser­vice.

“There has been an ac­knowl­edge­ment of the in­volve­ment of per­sons in the state, that is clear. Whether that means that you can draw that line to say that it has been an ac­knowl­edge­ment of state-spon­sored dop­ing, that re­mains for ev­ery­one to de­ter­mine on what’s been writ­ten, but it’s been finely worded by Rus­sia.”

Rus­sia’s ath­let­ics fed­er­a­tion was ini­tially banned by the IAAF in Novem­ber 2015 over al­le­ga­tions of wide­spread gov­ern­ment-backed dop­ing fraud.

Its ath­let­ics team was barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and also missed the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don a year later. A num­ber of Rus­sian ath­letes, how­ever, have been granted per­mis­sion by the IAAF to com­pete as neu­trals af­ter meet­ing the ex­cep­tional el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria, es­sen­tially demon­strat­ing that they have come through trans­par­ent an­ti­dop­ing test­ing.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee lifted its ban on Rus­sia at the end of the Pyeongchang Olympics while WADA in Septem­ber lifted its ban on RUSADA for non-com­pli­ance.

WADA drew heavy in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism when it voted to de­clare RUSADA “com­pli­ant”, be­fore be­ing granted ac­cess to Moscow raw data.

It re­sponded by promis­ing it will im­pose new sanc­tions if Rus­sia did not co­op­er­ate by De­cem­ber 31 and a team vis­ited the Rus­sian cap­i­tal last week and another is due next week to carry out an au­dit.

The WADA de­ci­sion led RUSAF to ap­peal against its IAAF sus­pen­sion at the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport.

(Reuters)

IAAF pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe and head of the IAAF task­force on Rus­sia Rune An­der­sen dur­ing the press con­fer­ence in Monaco.

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