IAAF upholds Russia ban for Rio 2016

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) voted this (Friday) afternoon to uphold its ban on Russian athletes competing at the Rio 2016 summer Olympic Games.

The decision was announced after a meeting of the IAAF Council. 

In November of last year, the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) was provisionally suspended from taking part in professional competition after a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report accused the country of widespread, state-sponsored doping. The ARAF accepted the move following an IAAF Council meeting designed to establish a ‘roadmap’ for the federation and Russia’s anti-doping authorities to follow, with the hope of reinstatement in time for this summer’s Games.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said in a press conference: "Although good progress has been made, the IAAF Council was unanimous that the ARAF had not made the reinstatement conditions and that Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public. As a result, the ARAF has not been reinstated to membership of the IAAF at this stage.

"While the ARAF remains suspended, no other officials of the ARAF should take part in international competition or the affairs of the IAAF.”

Rune Andersen, independent chairperson of the IAAF taskforce set up to investigate Russia's anti-doping measures, added that the ARAF is, "at least 18 to 24 months away from returning to full operation of compliance with Wada".

In March, the IAAF said that the ban would remain in place and added that the governing body would make a final decision on Russia’s participation at Rio 2016 in May. At the time, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said that Russia had made progress but needed to “undertake further significant work” if it were to take part in the Games.

Confirmation of the latest decision has come after Wada this week issued a damning report into the status of doping testing in Russia, alleging that both athletes and government agencies are continuing to obstruct and deceive testers.

The report, which covers the period from November 18 to May 29, said that doping control officers (DCO) were “intimidated” when trying to locate athletes who said they were in so-called closed cities hosting military facilities. The report also accused agents from Russia’s FSB security service of threatening DCOs with expulsion from the country.