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IAAF amends regulations allowing individual applications from Russian athletes

June 23, 18:31 UTC+3
The statement from the IAAF said that the decision was made following the global organization’s Council meeting a week ago
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© PA/DIEGO AZUBEL

PARIS, June 23. /TASS/. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on Thursday that it amended the organization’s regulations in order to allow field and track athletes from Russia to submit individual applications for international tournaments.

The statement from the IAAF said that the decision was made following the global organization’s Council meeting a week ago, when it decided that the All-Russia Athletics Federation had not "met the verification criteria to be reinstated as an IAAF Member Federation."

"A rule amendment was also passed which means that if there are any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other effective anti-doping systems, then they should be able to apply for permission to compete in international competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete," the IAAF said on its official website.

Last Friday at its session in Vienna, the IAAF decided to keep in force the suspension of the ARAF’s membership in the global athletics body. The suspension implied that Russian field and track athletes were ineligible to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Commenting on the amendments to the regulations IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: "Both the Taskforce and the Doping Review Board have worked extremely hard to get to where we are today, just days away from the European Championships. We know there are some Russian athletes considering applying to compete in international competitions under this new rule so it is important they are all clear about the criteria under which their application will be reviewed."

Addressing the issue of the extended suspension for the ARAF, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach said on Tuesday in Switzerland that members of the governing Olympic body supported the decision of the IAAF made last Friday.

He made the statement following the IOC summit in Switzerland’s Lausanne on Tuesday afternoon saying in particular that the organization’s members unanimously passed a declaration, which expressed "respect, approval and support" for the decision made last week by the IAAF regarding the extended suspension of the ARAF.

However, the IOC president said that all Russian athletes, who would enter the Olympic competition in Brazil, will be allowed to participate under the national flag since they are representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), which is a full-fledged member of the IOC.

"When it comes to the Olympic Games, all athletes then are part of the team of the Russian Olympic Committee," Bach said.

Speaking about the non-compliance reports from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and numerous "substantial allegations" in regard to the anti-doping systems in Russia and Kenya, IOC president said the summit participants concluded that "they put very serious doubts on the presumption of innocence for athletes coming from these countries."

"Therefore, each athlete coming from these two countries will have to be declared eligible by the respective international federation following individual procedure and individual evaluation of the situation," Bach said. "The respective international federations are the only ones who can declare an athlete technically eligible in the Games."

The WADA Independent Commission published on November 9 last year the results of its probe into the activities of the 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.

Eventually, the IAAF decided to suspend All-Russian Athletics Federation’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward six criteria, which ARAF was obliged to implement to restore its membership.

Starting this year doping control in Russian sports has been exercised by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) strictly under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).

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