IAAF Decides To Keep Russia Banned From International Competition

The International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body for track and field, has decided to extend the ban on Russia from international athletics competitions for state-sponsored doping.

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The country was suspended by IAAF over a massive doping and corruption scandal uncovered by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Track and field athletes of the country also missed the Rio Olympics after the ban was twice extended in March and June.

The decision was made after a Task Force that is monitoring the anti-doping program of Russia refused to put any dates on a "road map" for a return. Rune Andersen, the Norwegian heading the independent Task Force, reported to the International Association of Athletics Federations Council that many issues still needed clarifying in the New Year though there had been areas of progress.

It is demanded by the reinstatement conditions that Russian Federation must comply in full with the World Anti-Doping Code and IAAF anti-doping rules, that the IAAF and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) are able to conduct their anti-doping programs and testing without interference, and as a result the reintegration of Russian athletes into international competitions will not jeopardize the integrity of those competitions.

Andersen remarked the Russian Federation (RUSAF) has made further progress since June including anti-doping education modules and securing the cooperation of the Russian criminal authorities and parliament in criminalizing the supply of doping products. However, he also added that one of the key remaining issues is how to demonstrate the IAAF and RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping) will be able to carry out testing without interference which is a key part of their reinstatement. The Norwegian heading the independent Task Force added the Task Force will go to Moscow in January to assess the response to part two of the McLaren report on 9 December and to monitor progress. Andersen said he will report to the IAAF Council meeting in February and added at that time it hopes to be able to identify a clear roadmap and timetable for RUSAF's reinstatement.

Richard McLaren, co-author of the independent WADA report, is due to release the second part of his findings in London on 9 December.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said athletics still had work to do to regain the trust of the public. Coe remarked the Council felt "comforted" the changes had come about as a result of the decision to ban the Russians. Coe, who will present a series of radical governance reforms to a special Congress meeting, also commented that he does not want this sport to return to the grotesque stories that even over the last few days we have been waking up to, referring to recent allegations of more corruption in the organization under its previous leadership.

In November 2015, the IAAF suspended Russia and it has twice been extended meaning athletes missed the Rio Olympics. The ban extension, which comes despite Russian President Vladimir Putin approving a law criminalizing doping in sports, means Russian track and field athletes will now also miss March's European Indoors in Belgrade.

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