Track and Field

Russia athletics federation could be expelled from World Athletics

The Athletics Integrity Unit Board on Wednesday called for the expulsion of Russia's athletics federation after what it described as its "total lack of contrition" for a long list of anti-doping violations.

Integrity unit says previous sanctions had failed to deter RUSAF from re-offending

Former Russian Athletics Federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin was among seven Russians charged in October over the alleged forgery of medical documents to help world indoor high jump champion Danil Lysenko. (File/AFP via Getty Images)

The Athletics Integrity Unit Board on Wednesday called for the expulsion of Russia's suspended athletics federation after what it described as a its "total lack of contrition" in its response to a long list of anti-doping violations.

The AIU's recommendation, made to the council of World Athletics, comes after it assessed the explanations provided by the federation regarding its leadership's involvement in serious breaches of anti-doping rules.

Russia's athletics federation was initially suspended in 2015 after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency found evidence of mass doping in the sport and had since been trudging toward reinstatement.

But in November last year, World Athletics, the global governing body of athletics formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations, halted Russia's reinstatement process and raised the prospect of expelling the federation altogether over doping violations by its president and several of its representatives.

The AIU, the independent unit set up by the sport's governing body in 2017 to manage integrity issues, had provisionally suspended Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the Russian federation's president, and six other people for having provided forged documents to justify a whereabouts violation by high jumper Danil Lysenko.

In a strong statement on Wednesday, the AIU said the federation had not put "forward any material or evidence that it contends answers the AIU's case against it," despite having been granted three extensions to provide its explanations.

It said the federation had instead denied its involvement and blamed others.

Russia appealing 4-year Olympic ban

"The AIU Board finds it regrettable that, in the face of clear and compelling evidence, RUSAF has chosen not to admit to the acts and omissions of the employees, directors and representatives…" the AIU said in a statement.

"A responsible member federation in the circumstances would have admitted the charges and shown contrition for its conduct, but RUSAF has chosen to do neither."

The AIU recommended that World Athletics expel and fine the federation as part of "severest possible consequences" if its the anti-doping breaches are upheld.

Russia is in the process of appealing a four-year ban from competing under its flag at major international sporting events, including this year's Tokyo Olympics, after WADA found Moscow had provided it with doctored laboratory data.

The AIU also said the process used since 2016 to clear some Russian track and field athletes to compete internationally as neutrals, including three-time world high jump champion Maria Lasitskene, would remain suspended until the charges against the federation were determined.

This means that Russia's top track and field athletes are likely to miss the world indoor championships in the Chinese city of Nanjing in March.

The next World Athletics council meeting is scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the world indoor championships, but the event could be moved because of the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.


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