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Russian Olympic chief says country’s reinstatement in IAAF extremely important

December 08, 2016, 13:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. A reinstatement of the membership of the All-Russia Athletics Federation in the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) is the issue of extreme importance, the Russian Olympic chief said on Thursday.

"The issue of ARAF’s reinstatement in the IAAF is of extreme importance," Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), told journalists. "This issue is currently dealt with in a separate dimension within a set of measures, which Russia undertakes at all levels to see our suspended athletes allowed to take part in the competitions."

"Regarding this issue, we are pining great hopes on the commission of Smirnov, recently set up under the presidential decree," Zhukov added.

Last year, the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission carried out an investigation in regard to the activities of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Sports Ministry, and announced the results of the probe on November 9.

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 ARAF’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a host of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement to restore its membership in the global federation.

In mid-June June, the IAAF Council ruled it was still too early to restore ARAF’s membership in the international organization subsequently extending the suspension of Russian athletes from all international tournaments, including the 2016 Olympic Games in August.

The Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Executive Board approved in late July the establishment of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission (IPADC). Vitaly Smirnov, who is an International Olympic Committee’s honorary member, was appointed the head of the new body.

Smirnov worked for the IOC for 45 years and he also served as the ROC president between 1992 and 2001.

The decision to form the commission came after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in mid-July that the ROC could set up an independent public commission on the issues of fight against the abuse of performance enhancing drugs. The presidential proposal came following an array of sanctions against the Russian sports on accusations of doping abuse.

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