Russia could face permanent IAAF ban over doping reforms

Written By: Muraya Kamunde/BBC

Russia remains suspended from international athletics, and the sport’s governing body says it could permanently exclude the country if key doping reforms are not met soon.

The IAAF first banned Russia in November 2015 over evidence of state-sponsored doping.

The country was expected to have met reforms set out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) by November 2017.

But the IAAF says many requirements have still not been met.

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Evidence of state involvement in the systemic doping of Russian athletes was compiled in the 2016 McLaren report.

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Its conclusions – and that of a later International Olympic Committee (IOC) report – led to the country being banned from February’s Winter Olympics.

Russia has repeatedly denied running a state-sponsored doping programme.

Rune Andersen, chairman of the IAAF taskforce looking into Russian doping, said because the country had “still not acknowledged the institutional doping scheme [that was] uncovered” there can be “no comfort it will not be repeated”.

He said the taskforce had recommended that Russia should not be reinstated, and the IAAF council had accepted.

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He added if Russia did not make progress towards fulfilling Wada’s reforms by the council’s next meeting in July, “further measures should be discussed”.

This includes “withdrawing permission for Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in international competition” and “taking the steps necessary to recommend that Rusaf [Russia’s athletics federation] be expelled from IAAF membership,” he said.

“The taskforce will now call for an urgent meeting with Rusaf and the country’s ministry of sport to press on them the need to address these remaining issues without further delay,” he added.

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IAAF president Lord Coe said the prospect of permanent exclusion was “not sitting here as a threat”.

He added: “It is there because we want this situation resolved. It is always worth remembering that the criteria is not unilateral – it was agreed with the Russian federation.

“We want those athletes back in the fold, and the world needs to know those athletes are in a system of confidence and trust.”

Despite Russia’s ban from February’s Games in Pyeongchang, 168 Russians competed as neutrals in South Korea, and two failed drugs tests.

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