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IOC confirms Russian track and field athletes’ right to fly colors of ROC flag in Japan

Earlier on Thursday, 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 from Russia

MOSCOW, April 1. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has confirmed the right of Russia’s track and field athletes to compete under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Japan this summer, the IOC press office stated to TASS on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, 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 from Russia.

"At the Olympic Games athletes are not taking part for their International Federations but are members of the Olympic Team of their National Olympic Committee," the IOC press service told TASS.

"According to the CAS Award and the respective implementation guidelines, which were confirmed by WADA, athletes are to be entered by and represent the 'Russian Olympic Committee' and use 'ROC' as the acronym," according to the statement. "As with any sport at the Olympic Games, it is the International Federation remit to decide eligibility rules."

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.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan’s Tokyo will be held this year between July 23 and August 8. In March 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a decision to postpone for one year the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan due to the continuous COVID-19 spread.

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’s 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.