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Differences remain on Russia’s membership reinstatement with IAAF — sports minister

The Russian sports minister held on April 23 a bilateral meeting with IAAF President Sebastian Coe in Monaco

MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Differences remain between the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on a number of issues regarding Russia’s membership reinstatement with the global athletics body, Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Tuesday.

The Russian sports minister held on Monday a bilateral meeting with IAAF President Sebastian Coe at the headquarters of the world’s governing athletics body in Monaco.

"It is extremely important that this meeting took place," Kolobkov told journalists. "We (Russia) have earlier met with members of the IAAF Taskforce group on the ARAF’s membership reinstatement, but the meeting with Coe in such format is the first one in a year."

"We are implying maximum efforts jointly with the IAAF to see the full-fledged return of the federation and (Russian) athletes to all competitions," the minister said. "There are still differences on a number of issues, which we must resolve, although we have a different stance on them."

"We have agreed to maintain our contacts on a permanent basis," Kolobkov said. "I hope that jointly with the IAAF we will manage to find a way out of the complicated situation, which our federation is currently locked up."

"I believe that all (reinstatement) criteria have been either implemented or they are in the final stage of the implementation," the Russian sports minister said. "Our federation is ready and has all rights to seek its membership reinstatement."

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.

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.

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.