LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 31 – Russia remains banned from international track and field competition after the IAAF ruled Monday that it had not made sufficient progress in its anti-doping fight to merit reinstatement.
Russia was accused in a World Anti-Doping Agency report last year of widespread state-sponsored doping. Its athletics team was barred from last summer’s Rio Olympics and will also miss the IAAF World Championships that get under way in London on Friday.
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’ve come through transparent anti-doping testing.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe confirmed that 19 Russian athletes were in London to compete at the worlds.
But the country remains excluded as a whole after the Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), meeting in London, voted unanimously to maintain the ban on the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).
“The report has been unanimously approved by the Council,” confirmed Rune Andersen, independent chairman of the IAAF Taskforce looking into doping in Russia.
“Material progress has been made but there are still issues that need to be resolved” in terms of reaching several of the conditions established by Council for reinstatement of RusAF to IAAF membership.
Those conditions have not yet been met in full, and several important steps remain outstanding, he said.
“I can confirm that our impression is that they really want to meet all the criteria that has been set,” Andersen insisted.
“We need to work with Russia, RusAF and the authorities to remedy (the problems) and meet the criteria.
“The main issue is that no meaningful testing is being conducted.”
The Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA), which Andersen said used to carry out 19,000 tests a year — a figure currently down to a couple of thousand — is also “still not code compliant (with WADA)… it needs to be reinstated”.
There has been an evident culture of change, Andersen added, “but they haven’t demonstrated that this is in place”.
The Norwegian also said that Russian authorities have still not acknowledged the McLaren report that pointed the finger at the state-sponsored doping. “That needs to be resolved,” he said.
“We haven’t outlined in details to RusAF or Russian authority on how they deal with this acknowledgement or possible rebuttal of the findings in the McLaren report,” said Andersen.
“I think that needs to be delivered by the Russians.
“It’s difficult to get an excuse, but we need some sort of an explanation on how they deal with this report in the most effective way.”
Andersen, who stuck with the timeline of a Russian return to international action in November, said the report was “not something they put away and say it was falsified” as they have done in the past “from the very top level down”. “We’ll see how we move forward on that.”