IAAF looks for “neutral” solution

Sebastien Coe at World Economic Forum. Photo: Moritz Hager
Sebastian Coe at World Economic Forum. Photo: Moritz Hager

The Monaco-based International Association of Athletics Federations has been sent the names of 200 Russians by international doping investigators. The world athletics body said it had been given the list by investigators working for Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, who has alleged there was a “state-sponsored” doping system in Russia involving as many as 1,000 athletes and that the illegal operation had been organised by the Russian sports ministry.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said that Russian athletes had been let down by the system. Following the suspension of Russia from international competition from 2015, the IAAF has sent new criteria to the Russian federation for athletes to take part in international competition as neutrals, the only way the athletes can take part in the world athletics championships in London in August.

“One of the criteria requires athletes to show they are not directly implicated in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, by their national federation’s (RUSAF) failure to put in place adequate systems to protect and promote clean athletes,” the IAAF said in a statement.

“The IAAF has been forwarded around 200 names of Russian athletes by the McLaren investigation team and it will assess the evidence and intelligence from the McLaren report and elsewhere in respect of any athlete who applies for neutral athlete status under the guidelines,” it added.

Other criteria will include “whether any coach, doctor or other support person with whom the applicant has worked has ever been implicated in the commission of any anti-doping rule violation”.

“Russian athletes have been let down by a system that should have protected them and celebrated achievements – not one that created doubt and expulsion from competition. We continue to find ways to create parallel and credible systems of independent testing of Russian athletes so they have alternative avenues to get back in to competition whilst we continue to work with RusAF on reinstatement,” Coe added.

More than 110 Russians were barred from taking part in the Rio Olympics last August because of the doping scandal. In his latest report released in December, McLaren said that 1,000 Russians were involved in the doping system.

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