IAAF suspends Russia


The IAAF has provisionally suspended Russia from athletics amid allegations of state-sponsored doping.

Earlier this week an independent commission established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) called for the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) to be banned over allegations of "corruption and bribery" at the highest levels of international athletics.

The commission, which was led by former WADA president Dick Pound, was created to investigate claims of systemic cheating and cover-ups in Russian athletics.

And, during an IAAF Council meeting held via teleconference on Friday and chaired by new president Sebastian Coe, senior officials voted to take decisive action.

Speaking about the decision, IAAF president Sebastien Coe said: "We have been dealing with the failure of ARAF and made the decision to provisionally suspend them, the toughest sanction we can apply at this time. 

"But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world. 

"This has been a shameful wake-up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated. 

"To this end, the IAAF, WADA, the member federations and athletes need to look closely at ourselves, our cultures and our processes to identify where failures exist and be tough in our determination to fix them and rebuild trust in our sport. There can be no more important focus for our sport."

The Council voted 22-1 in favour of suspending ARAF, and under the sanction Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete at the Olympic Games or in World Athletic Series competitions.

The IAAF also confirmed the formation an inspection team led by Independent Chair Rune Anderson, a Norwegian anti-doping expert, and three members of the IAAF Council who have yet to be appointed.

Coe stated that Russian athletes will only be allowed to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro if a list of criteria is met fully.

"That [Russian athletes competing in Rio] is entirely up to the Russian federation and the speed we can enact change. We will be tough," he added.

"We will get the change we want, only then will Russian athletes be allowed to return to international competition."

As part of the sanctions, Russia will not be allowed to host the 2016 World Race Walking Cup or the World Junior Championships, with the IAAF to announce new venues in due course.