Sport Athletics IAAF announces Russia athlete ban to remain in place until at least November
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IAAF announces Russia athlete ban to remain in place until at least November

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Russian officials sensationally admitted to a doping regime among the country's athletes. Photo: Getty
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Russian athletes will remain banned from international competition until at least November, the IAAF have announced.

Athletics’ world governing body have also put a stop to athletes switching allegiances, freezing all nationality switches.

Following a council meeting in Monaco on Monday, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said Russian athletics should not expect “full reinstatement” before November.

The decision rules out Russia competing at the world championships in August in London.

IAAF task force chairman Rune Andersen added although there had been “productive meetings” with Russian officials, many conditions were yet to be met for full reinstatement.

In December, World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren published the second part of his damning report into state-sponsored doping, listing hundreds of failed drug tests which were allegedly covered up in Russia, including in disability sports.

The Russian government and Russian athletics deny any state support for doping. Andersen presented Russia’s “roadmap” for compliance, and issued firm conditions.

The testing of Russian athletes must take place without any further incidents.
Russian athletics must explain why in the past they have been unable to enforce suspensions imposed on their athletes and how they plan to go about doing this in future.

The IAAF also demanded an official Russian response to McLaren’s findings from the sports ministry and the FSB, Russia’s federal security service.

“Our priority is to return clean athletes to competition but we must all have confidence in the process,” Coe said. “Clean Russian athletes have been badly let down by their national system. We must ensure they are protected and that those safeguards give confidence to the rest of the world that there is a level playing field of competition when Russians return.”

In a separate issue, the IAAF said they were freezing all nationality switches in athletics after complaints that a rising number of people were switching allegiance to countries where they had no ties, and that some were moving repeatedly.

Coe said middlemen were touting lists of athletes around various countries, describing a form of transfer market similar to soccer.

“I have spoken to many member federations who regularly receive a list of athletes that are out there and available for trade,” he said. “This cannot be a sustainable system.”

Runners from Kenya and Ethiopia were among those who have often moved to represent other countries.

Running for Bahrain, Kenya-born Ruth Jebet and Eunice Kirwa won the 3,000-metre steeplechase and silver in the marathon respectively at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The decision did not affect 15 transfers already being processed.

Council member Hamad Kalkaba Malboum compared the situation to a “wholesale market for African talent open to the highest bidder.”

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