RusAF failings laid bare by IAAF taskforce head


Russian athletes hoping to compete in the Rio Olympics have been told they will have to "clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system", after the country's ban from international competition was upheld.

Athletics' governing body confirmed on Friday that Russia's suspension remains in place, the IAAF Council having unanimously decided that the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) "had not met the reinstatement conditions".

The Russian Ministry of Sport reacted to the decision by saying it was "extremely disappointed" by the verdict, a statement adding: "We have nothing to hide and feel we had met the IAAF's conditions for re-entry".

Yet at a news conference in Vienna, Rune Andersen - the independent chairperson of the IAAF Taskforce set up to monitor the verification process - made it clear there was still much work for RusAF to do.

Andersen said: "Although there has been significant progress towards the satisfaction of the verification criteria, several important verification criteria have not been fully satisfied. In particular, the deep-seated culture of tolerance, or worse, for doping that got RUSAF suspended in the first place appears not to have been changed materially to date.

"The head coach of the Russian athletics team and many of the athletes on that team appear unwilling to acknowledge the nature and the extent of the doping problem in Russian athletics. And certain athletes and coaches appear willing to ignore the doping rules.

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

"Efforts to test athletes in Russia have continued to encounter serious obstacles and difficulties. RUSAF appears unable to enforce all doping bans and RUSADA is reportedly at least 18-24 months away from returning to full operational compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

"The taskforce does consider, however, that if there are individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system, because they have been outside the country or subject to other strong anti-doping systems, including effective drug-testing, then this should be a process through which they can apply for permission to compete in international competition, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete."

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva expressed her outrage at Russia's ban remaining in place, telling the TASS news agency: "This is a violation of human rights. I won't keep silent. I'll turn to a human rights court."

The IOC will hold a meeting next Tuesday to discuss the matter, but IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: "I think we need to be clear here, the eligibility of athletes to compete in international competition is entirely a matter for the IAAF. 

"I will be attending the Olympic Summit in a few days' time to represent my sport, as I have done on similar occasions. I am not pre-judging any conversation or deliberations, but it is a very clear proposition that the eligibility for athletes to compete internationally lies with the IAAF."