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President of Russian track and field athletics body RusAF Yurchenko resigns

The World Athletics Council is set to hold a video conference on July 29-30 and the issue of RusAF’s membership and the future of Russian athletes’ participation in international tournaments will be on the agenda of this session

MOSCOW, July 13. /TASS/. President of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) Yevgeny Yurchenko has announced his resignation, the press service of RusAF announced in a statement on Monday.

"I am announcing today my resignation from the post of the president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation and I am launching the process of the reelection of RusAF’s administrative management," the press office of RusAF quoted Yurchenko as saying in a statement.

"I would like to thank all specialists, who were not indifferent in regard to the fate of the Russian track and field athletics sports, with whom I had the privilege of working within such a very short and also complicated period of time," Yurchenko said.

"I hope that the newly-elected president of RusAF will advance in the practical solution of the five-year-old complications in relations with World Athletics and will also attract ample money for the financing of the federation’s development," he stated.

The World Athletics Council is set to hold a video conference on July 29-30 and the issue of RusAF’s membership and the future of Russian athletes’ participation in international tournaments will be on the agenda of this session.

In March 2020, the World Athletics Council ruled to fine RusAF $5 million for an alleged attempt of the previous administration to forge official documents of high jumper Danil Lysenko. The deadline to repay the fine was set for July 1, 2020. In case of RusAF’s failure to pay the fine of $5 million to World Athletics before the set deadline of July 1, Russian athletes would be denied permits for their neutral-status participation in international tournaments.

On July 2, World Athletics announced that RusAF failed to pay the fine before the deadline, while the overall amount of the penalty increased to $6.31 million.

The international federation, World Athletics, suspended RusAF’s membership in November 2015, following a wave of anti-doping rules violations and formed a special mission on the issue.

World Athletics, however, allowed clean athletes from Russia to participate in international tournaments under the neutral status or the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF is reinstated. The ANA status prohibits Russian athletes from participating in all international track and field tournaments under the national flag.

World Athletics Taskforce Group, led by Norwegian expert Rune Andersen, was set up to oversee Russia’s implementation of requirements for RusAF’s membership reinstatement with World Athletics.

The suspension of Russia’s governing athletics body has been ruled to remain in force 12 times since its introduction in 2015 with the most recent decision made on September 23, 2019 before the start of the 2019 World Championships in Qatar’s Doha on September 27-October 6.

The World Athletics Council announced on November 22, 2019 its decision to suspend RusAF’s reinstatement process based on charges brought by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). According to the World Athletics, the AIU charged RusAF on November 21, 2019 "with obstructing an investigation and provisionally suspended several senior federation officials for tampering and complicity."

The provisionally suspended senior officials at that time were then-President of RusAF Dmitry Shlyakhtin and at least four more high-ranking people from the federation. They were subjected to penalties for their alleged help in the falsification of documents, which Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko presented as his excuse for skipping obligatory doping tests. Shlyakhtin and at least four other officials of RusAF submitted letters of resignation on November 23.

On January 29, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) recommended World Athletics to consider an expulsion of RusAF from the list of its members in case the Russian side failed to provide evidence in the Lysenko case. The Russian side was advised to review the case once again and to come up with answers in regard to accusations on this issue.