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Russian athletics takes case to court over IAAF reinstatement

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Athletics chief Sebastian Coe faces a demand from the Russians to have their athletes ban terminated © AFP/File / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

MOSCOW, Russian Federation, Sep 26Russian athletics, emboldened by WADA’s lifting of the three-year ban on Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA), has demanded to have its ban from track and field terminated.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Athletics Federation (RUSAF) said it had filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) the previous day.

The statement said the appeal pointed to the “unfounded decision” to put several criteria on the RUSAF restoration roadmap including the recognition by the Russian authorities of their involvement in the scheme for concealing the use of doping by Russian athletes.

“The unreasonable implementation of these criteria and their presence on the roadmap for RUSAF’s restoration is in our view wrong, because it goes beyond RUSAF’s competencies,” the statement said.

Russian athletics chief Dmitry Shlyakhtin also sent the letter to Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), informing him he is taking the case to the CAS, the Times reported.

– Ban no longer relevant ? –

Shlyakhtin argued that the reasons for the ban of his organisation and its athletes, which the IAAF imposed in November 2015, are no longer pertinent as they were the same ones the World Anti-Doping Agency used when they punished RUSADA.

WADA suspended RUSADA, also in November 2015, after declaring it non-compliant following revelations of a vast state-backed scheme to avoid drug testers.

“Given that the outstanding criteria for RUSAF’s reinstatement were essentially identical to those that the WADA executive committee has considered met, and that time is of the essence, we respectfully request that the IAAF decide to reinstate RUSAF as soon as possible,” wrote Shlyakhtin.

The IAAF told The Times in light of the letter: “We have led the way to fight for clean athletes and we will continue to do so.”

The Court of Arbitration of Sport has not yet received the appeal, a spokesman said.

Coe, who has consistently been the most prominent sports administrator in taking a hard line over the doping scandal, had said following WADA’s decision to lift the ban that Russia needed to meet two pre-conditions to be allowed to return to international athletics competition.

The IAAF will next broach the subject at a Council meeting in December.

“The reinstatement of RUSADA was one of three pre-conditions,” he said in a statement issued by the IAAF.

“The other two pre-conditions are Russian authorities must acknowledge the findings of the McLaren and Schmid Commissions that Ministry of Sport officials were implicated in the scheme to cover up the doping of Russian athletes as described in their reports.

“The Russian authorities must (also) provide access to the data from testing of samples at the Moscow lab from 2011 to 2015, so that the Athletics Integrity Unit can determine whether the suspicious findings reported in the Moscow lab’s database should be pursued.”

The decision to lift the ban on RUSADA was taken last week at a meeting of WADA’s executive committee but the softening of their stance triggered outrage from athletes and national anti-doping agencies around the world.

They accused WADA of succumbing to pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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