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World Athletics approves neutral-status regulations for Russian track and fielders

On March 18, the World Athletics Council announced a decision to allow clean athletes from Russia to compete internationally

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. The world’s governing body of track and field athletics, World Athletics, has approved a list of regulations regarding the issuance of neutral-status participation permits for national athletes of Russia, according to the organization’s statement on Thursday.

On March 18, the World Athletics Council announced a decision to reinstate "the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) program for clean athletes from Russia."

The list of guidelines for Russian athletes’ ANA program includes 12 provisions. It was published on the official website of World Athletics on Thursday as dated March 31, 2021.

The issuance of the ANA status for athletes over the age of 20 years requires a fee of $250, while athletes under the age of 20 must pay a fee of $100.

Applications for the neutral-status participation must be accompanied by official letters from the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) stating the required information about the given athlete, who must also be included in the Registered Testing Pool in the course of past 12 months.

Russian track and field athletes planning to take part in the Olympic Games or world championships must provide confirmations of at least three out-of-competition doping tests ten month prior to the start of the competitions.

"The Doping Review Board may issue specific guidance in relation to particular International Competitions…," according to one of the provisions of the published document. "The Doping Review Board will issue its decision on the application as soon as reasonably practicable. It shall provide brief reasons for its decision, which will be communicated to the applicant."

In 2021, no more than ten athletes will be able to get the ANA status to compete in major sporting events (Olympics, world championships and European U23 championships), according to a previous decision of World Athletics.

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.

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 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."

In March 2020, the World Athletics Council ruled to fine RusAF $5 million for an alleged involvement of the previous executive administration in an attempt to forge official documents of high jumper Danil Lysenko. RusAF paid the fine on August 12, 2020.

In early December 2020, World Athletics decided to postpone its decision on the issuance of neutral status permissions for Russian athletes until the world’s governing body of track and field athletics received a final detailed plan on RusAF’s status reinstatement.