‘RusAF has not met reinstatement conditions’ – IAAF Council Meeting, Vienna

The 204th IAAF Council Meeting was held today at the Grand Hotel Wein in Vienna, Austria. The meeting was attended by 25 members of the 27-strong Council and chaired by IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

This session of Council was an extraordinary meeting held principally to give the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) a further opportunity to satisfy the Reinstatement Conditions for IAAF Membership ahead of the forthcoming European Championships in Amsterdam and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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IAAF Taskforce – RusAF update

Rune Andersen, the independent chairperson of the IAAF Taskforce which is monitoring the verification process delivered a report which made four separate unanimous recommendations to Council.

The first recommendation is that RusAF should not be reinstated to membership at this stage, because several important Verification Criteria have not been met, specifically:

– The deep-seated culture of tolerance (or worse) for doping that led to RusAF being suspended in the first place appears not to have changed materially to date.

– A strong and effective anti-doping infrastructure capable of detecting and deterring doping has still not been created.

– There are detailed allegations, which are already partly substantiated, that the Russian authorities, far from supporting the anti-doping effort, have in fact orchestrated systematic doping and the covering up of adverse analytical findings.

The decision not to reinstate RusAF means that Russian athletes remain ineligible under IAAF Rules to compete in International Competitions including the European Championships and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The second recommendation is that while RusAF remains suspended, no other representatives of RusAF (i.e. officials, athlete support personnel, etc) should take part in International Competition or in the affairs of the IAAF.

Commenting on the Council’s decision, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: “Although good progress has been made, the IAAF Council was unanimous that RusAF had not met the reinstatement conditions and that Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public. As a result, RusAF has not been reinstated to membership of the IAAF at this stage.”

Rune Andersen, the IAAF Taskforce independent chairperson, said: “For Russian athletes to be reinstated into international competition, RusAF must show that there is now a culture of zero tolerance towards doping in Russian athletics and that RusAF, RUSADA, and the public authorities in Russia, working in cooperation, have created an anti-doping infrastructure that is effective in detecting and deterring cheats, and therefore provides reasonable assurance and protection to clean athletes both inside and outside of Russia.”

The IAAF Council also passed today a rule amendment (the third recommendation) to the effect that if there are any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country, and subject to other, effective anti-doping systems, including effective drug-testing, then they should be able to apply for permission to compete in International Competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete.

The fourth recommendation is that any individual athlete who has made an extraordinary contribution to the fight against doping in sport should also be able to apply for such permission. In particular, Yuliya Stepanova’s case should be considered favourably.

All four recommendations were unanimously accepted by the IAAF Council.

The IAAF President, Sebastian Coe added: “The council was unanimous in accepting the recommendations and sending a very clear signal to athletes and the public about our intention to reform our sport. I am proud also that the Council accepted the recommendation to refer Yuliya Stepanova’s application to an appropriate panel under this amended rule as soon as possible. With the assistance of the Taskforce we will continue to work with RusAF on the reinstatement of Russian athletes as soon as possible.”