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Athletics ruling body IAAF extends ban on Russian athletes

The international athletics body will continue its ban on Russian athletes through the world championships in London this summer. The IAAF said Russia should not expect to be fully reinstated until November.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced Monday at its 208th Council Meeting in Monaco that the ban on Russian athletes competing in international events will likely be extended until at least November.

Rune Andersen, the head of the task force investigating doping in Russia, said "RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping Agency) will be able to meet WADA's (World Anti-Doping Agency) conditions for partial reinstatement in May 2017 and full reinstatement in November 2017."

Andersen added the task force would consider conditional reinstatement of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) to the IAAF when certain conditions were met. These include an official response to the report last year by Canadian professor Richard McLaren claiming that Moscow had "hijacked international sport" over a five-year period and that more than 1,000 Russian competitors in 30 sports were involved in an "institutional conspiracy" to cover up positive tests. The IAAF also called for testing of Russian athletes "without any further adverse incidents or difficulties."

"If everything goes in accordance to plan there will be a full reinstatement by November 2017," said Andersen. "Which means that Russian as a nation, or RusAF, is not recommended by us to be reinstated until that time."

Russian athletes have been suspended from international competition by the IAAF since November 2015 after the first part of the McLaren report alleged mass doping and attempted cover-ups.  

Leichtathletin Darya Klishina, Russland (Imago)

Darya Klishina competing in the 2016 Russian national track and field championships

Staying put

The IAAF also put an immediate stop to changes of nationality by athletes, saying the system has become open to abuse and rules are being manipulated.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe said a working group would be set up to agree new rules by the end of the year. "It has become abundantly clear that with regular multiple transfers of allegiance, especially from Africa, the present rules are no longer fit for purpose," Coe said on Monday.

Kenya-born athletes running for Bahrain at the Rio Olympics last year were Ruth Jebet who won the 3,000 meters steeplechase event and Eunice Kirwa who took silver in the marathon.

The IAAF said the ban would not affect 15 applications to switch allegiance which have already been made.

Formal bidding processes

The IAAF Council also agreed to end the formal bidding processes for hosting major athletics events. Instead, a new selection process is to start with events from 2021.

The new system is to assess "strategic goals" for developing athletics, "targeting cities from countries and regions which will best assist the delivery of those aims".

kbd/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)