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World Athletics outlines expulsion deadline to RusAF

Sebastian Coe (L) and Rune Andersen hold a press conference in Monaco (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) will be expelled from membership of the World Athletics global governing body if it does not make outstanding payments of a $5m (€4.2m) fine and $1.31m in costs before August 15.

The World Athletics Council met yesterday (Thursday) to follow the recommendations of the taskforce, delivered by chairperson Rune Andersen, who expressed his disappointment that the taskforce had seen “very little in terms of changing the culture of Russian athletics” in the past five years.

The $5m fine and $1.31m in other costs were due by July 1. The RusAF was fined $10m in total by the World Athletics back in March for breaching the sport’s anti-doping rules.

Andersen added that the taskforce had spent “an enormous amount of time and effort trying to help RusAF reform itself and Russian athletics, for the benefit of all clean Russian athletes” but the response from the federation had been “inadequate”.

Oleg Matytsin, the Russian Minister of Sport, has sent a letter to World Athletics promising that the due amounts will be paid by August 15.

The taskforce has recommended to Congress that it resolves to expel RusAF’s membership, in accordance with Article 14.1 of the Constitution, on the basis that the matters that led Congress to suspend RusAF’s membership have not been satisfactorily addressed.

The taskforce has also recommended that a Special Congress meeting be convened “as soon as possible” to allow Congress to consider and vote on the proposal to expel RusAF. The taskforce further recommended that the ‘neutral athlete’ mechanism will not be made available to Russian athletes.

The decision is suspended but will come into effect immediately and automatically if the payments are not made before August 15. Russia will also be required to commit to further anti-doping and governance reforms.

RusAF has been suspended from the membership of World Athletics since November 2015, a status that was upheld by the sport’s world governing body ahead of the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

Earlier this month, RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko resigned after less than five months in the position amid the ongoing dispute. It came after World Athletics president Sebastian Coe had previously said that RusAF was falling “well short of expectations” after confirming that the global governing body had not received the payments due.

Yurchenko had earlier said that his federation’s finances had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that it had requested an extension on the payment deadline.