MOSCOW, January 9. /TASS/. The All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) asked the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to review its requirements on neutral status permissions for Russian athletes, who were excluded from the IAAF’s doping testing pool last year, a spokesperson for the ARAF told TASS on Tuesday.
Due to the ARAF’s currently suspended membership in the global athletics body, the IAAF made a decision in late 2016 to allow Russian athletes, who meet IAAF’s required criteria, to compete in international sports events under the neutral status. Almost all permissions for the neutral status participation, subsequently issued by the IAAF to Russian athletes, expired on December 31, 2017.
Early last month, the IAAF announced a new list of criteria for issuing neutral status permissions for the 2018 season and one of the requirements stipulates an obligation for an athlete to be on the IAAF’s Registered Testing Pool (RTP) for the period of 12 months. However, in October 2017 the IAAF decided to exclude a number of Russian track and field athletes from the RTP.
"It turns out that the (excluded from the RTP) athletes, including our leading track and fielders, are unable now to file applications for permissions to take part in the international competitions this year under the neutral flag," ARAF’s spokesperson Natalia Yukhareva said in an interview with TASS.
"We could have turned to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency asking to include our athletes in the testing pools if such requirement was voiced at least in autumn last year," she said. "But now these athletes are the hostages of the current situation, it is not their fault and it contradicts the spirit of justice."
"This is why we wrote and sent a letter to the IAAF asking the organization to review the requirements," Yukhareva said adding that the IAAF had received the letter from the ARAF and intended to come up with the answer before January 14.
In 2015, the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission carried out an investigation in regard to 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 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.