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MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is looking forward to productive cooperation with the newly-elected Council and the president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), according to a statement from IAAF, addressed exclusively for TASS on Monday.
During its election session on January 16, ARAF elected its new president Dmitry Shlyakhtin, who is the minister of sports of Russia’s Samara Region, as well as members of the federation’s Council. The voting at the federation’s conference in Moscow last Saturday featured 119 officials, who represented regional federations (66) and regional divisions (53).
"While the IAAF does not usually comment about the elections of national federations, given the current suspension of Russia from IAAF membership, it exceptionally notes the election last Saturday [January 16] of a new Council of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) and its chairperson, Sports Minister of Samara Region Dmitry Shlyakhtin," the IAAF’s press service said in the statement.
The statement quoted Rune Andresen, the independent chairperson of the IAAF Taskforce as saying: "we look forward to working with the new Chairperson and Council of ARAF."
The IAAF Taskforce was set up in mid-November with the aim to inspect and verify the process of reformations in ARAF thus helping the federation to restore its suspended membership in the international organization. The Taskforce is particularly coordinating the work on reformations, done by the Interim Coordination Committee (ICC) of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and ARAF.
"The joint commitment of ARAF and ICC to the Reinstatement Conditions and Verification Criteria is central to moving this process forward," Andresen added commenting on ARAF’s work to reunite with IAAF.
The first visit of the Taskforce to Russia to see the results of the ongoing reformations in the ARAF took place in the Russian capital on January 11-12.
The IAAF announced last week that the next meeting of the Taskforce delegates with the Interim Coordination Committee (ICC) of Russia’s Olympic authorities would be held again in Moscow later this month.
The Taskforce is headed by its Independent Chair Rune Andersen alongside IAAF Council’s members - Abby Hoffman, the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Strategic Policy Branch at Health Canada, Anna Riccardi, a Technical Delegate for the Rio Olympic Games and Italy’s National Olympic Committee’s Head of Team Services Sport and Olympic Programme Area, Frank Fredericks from Namibia, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Chairman of the IAAF Athletes’ Commission, and Geoff Gardner, the president of the Oceania Athletics Association (Norfolk Island).
The Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activities of ARAF, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Sports Ministry.
The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.
RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the decision of the agency’s Independent Committee that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organization.
The IAAF announced at its Council meeting in November that a report prepared by ARAF on the struggle against doping was unsatisfactory and decided by a majority of votes to suspend Russia’s membership in the international athletics association.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko traveled on November 25-26 to Germany’s Frankfurt, where he met with the administration of WADA, and a Road Map on the settlement of the current situation was drafted as a result of that meeting.
The WADA Independent Commission was set up and began its work, following a series of German documentaries, first aired in December 2014, on the alleged mass use of performance enhancing drugs among Russia’s field and track athletes.