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Russian athletes’ participation in 2016 Olympics to be decided in May — IAAF official

March 11, 18:58 UTC+3 MONACO
IAAF Taskforce announced that the requested criteria necessary to restore the country’s membership in the international organization, were not implemented in full, Mikhail Butov said
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© AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, File

MONACO, March 11. /TASS/. The final decision on the participation of Russian field and track athletes in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro will be made in May, Russia’s Mikhail Butov, a member of the Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said on Friday.

The IAAF Council is meeting in Monaco on March 10-11. Norwegian Rune Andersen, the head of the IAAF inspection team, was scheduled on Friday to present reports on the current situation in the Russian athletics as well as on reformations in the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF).

"The IAAF Council was recommended to return to the issue later," Butov told journalists. "It was decided to hold an extraordinary session of the IAAF Council in May. This is when the final decision will be made on the participation of our athletes in Rio [de Janeiro]."

Butov also said that the IAAF Taskforce, in charge of monitoring the implementation of Russia’s obligatory reformations in ARAF, announced that the requested criteria necessary to restore the country’s membership in the international organization, were not implemented in full.

"The Council discussed the report of the IAAF Taskforce," Butov, who is also the secretary general of ARAF, said. "The main idea, which we managed to deliver to the Council, was that an enormous work had been done by Russia on the issue. This work was noticed and appreciated."

"It is very significant, since it was important for the members of the Council to hear that we [Russia] are following with the requests of IAAF," he said. "The Taskforce also expressed its opinion that more time is necessary for us to implement all of the IAAF’s requested criteria. It was decided that it was necessary to take more steps to meet all of the requested criteria."

Following a series of high-profile doping scandals involving the ARAF last year, the IAAF suspended the Russian federation’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward six criteria, which ARAF must implement to restore its membership.

The IAAF Taskforce, set up in mid-November with the aim to reform the ARAF, oversees the implementation of these criteria. The IAAF monitoring body paid three visits to Russia beginning this year, with the most recent one in mid-February.

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 IAAF announced at its Council meeting in November that a report prepared by the 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.

Experts say it is highly possible that Russian national athletics teams will be suspended from the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil this year following the findings from the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The Independent Commission of WADA published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activities of the ARAF, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the 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.

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