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ARAF president says IAAF warning to bar Russia’s neutral track and fielders is real

April 13, 14:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A warning from the IAAF that Russian track and field athletes might be completely barred from taking part in international tournaments should not be underestimated, the ARAF president says

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© AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. A warning from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that Russian track and field athletes might be completely barred from taking part in international tournaments, even under neutral status, should not be underestimated, the head of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) told TASS on Friday.

Rune Andersen, the head of the Independent IAAF Taskforce group, said in early March that in case the ARAF failed to implement the criteria set out in the Taskforce group’s Road Map, Russia’s governing track and field athletics body could be expelled completely from the IAAF.

"I would rather be not underestimating this statement from the Taskforce group," ARAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin said in an interview with TASS. "This severe step is possible if we will not be constantly proving that our athletes and coaches are observing anti-doping regulations and rules of tournaments."

"However, violations of anti-doping rules unfortunately continue taking place and in 2018 we have already registered six cases," Shlyakhtin said.

The IAAF Taskforce was set up with the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the ARAF’s obligations regarding its currently suspended membership reinstatement with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

In 2015, the WADA Independent Commission carried out an investigation 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.

The work of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and RUSADA was eventually suspended. The IAAF in turn 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 in order to restore its membership in the global federation.

The IAAF, however, permitted clean athletes from Russia to participate in the international tournaments under the neutral status until the membership of the ARAF was reinstated.

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