World Athletics gives Russia more time to deliver reinstatement plan
World Athletics has given RUSAF, the Russian athletics federation, a further five months to present a plan for its reinstatement, asserting that the national governing body “does not have the resources available” to do so at present.
Track and field’s international federation had set a deadline of 30 September to receive and approve a plan, but this has now been put back to 1 March, 2021.
RUSAF has been suspended since 2015 when a large-scale Russian doping scandal broke, with a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency identifying mass violations across various sports, notably athletics.
The extension has been granted on following a recommendation from World Athletics’ dedicated Russia Taskforce.
World Athletics said the independent taskforce “believes RUSAF currently does not have the resources available to produce a detailed and appropriate plan for reinstatement, which includes the elements required by the Council.
“These requirements are: to ingrain throughout Russian athletics (including coaches and other support personnel employed by the Centre for Sports Preparation and/or through regional Ministries of Sport) a culture of zero tolerance for doping; and to rehabilitate RUSAF so that it becomes a trusted ally of World Athletics in the fight for clean sport.”
Last month, RUSAF did pay the first part of a fine to World Athletics for the latest breach of anti-doping regulations, and met a deadline of 31 August to provide a draft reinstatement plan, thereby avoiding the threat of expulsion.
However, it has been acknowledged that more time and staffing is necessary to finalise the roadmap.
The international governing body quotes the taskforce as saying the failure to deliver an acceptable plan by the end of September “appears to be due not to a lack of willingness but rather a lack of knowhow and resources."
Various senior RUSAF officials have departed in recent months.
World Athletics has announced that Margarita Pakhnotskaya, the former deputy director general of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) will be one of two Russia-based experts who will help RUSAF produce a reinstatement plan.
Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, said the taskforce, which is headed up by Rune Andersen, had taken a “sensible and pragmatic approach” to the situation in Russia.
He added: “The Taskforce believes that the international experts will be very well-equipped to help RUSAF’s Reinstatement Commission complete the plan in a matter of two or three months, but they recommended a long-stop deadline of 1 March 2021. If an adequate plan is not completed by then, the Council will once again consider the matter of RUSAF’s expulsion.”
RUSAF’s fight to be reinstated comes against the background of a four-year ban from major sports events impose on Russia by the World Anti-Doping Agency, after the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was declared non-compliant because of manipulated data provided by the accredited laboratory in Moscow.