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World Athletics sets limit at 20 athletes from Russia for 2022 international tournaments

Head of the World Athletics Russia Taskforce Group Rune Andersen said speaking to journalists that the situation regarding Russia was very optimistic

MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. The World Athletics Council made a decision to allow not more than 20 track and field athletes from Russia with valid neutral-status permission for their participation in the European and World Championships next year, Rune Andersen, the head of the World Athletics Russia Taskforce Group, told a news conference on Wednesday.

The World Athletics Council convened for a meeting in Monaco on November 30 - December 1 in Monaco and a situation regarding the track and field athletics in Russia was among the key issues on the agenda.

Andresen said speaking to journalists that the situation regarding Russia was very optimistic and up to 20 athletes from this country were allowed to take part in international competitions under the neutral status starting next year compared to the previous number of 10.

"I have reported today to the [World Athletics] Council that based on the progress of the work being conducted by RusAF, the Task Force and the international experts, our view is one of guarded optimism," he said.

"RusAF is making steady progress towards meeting the conditions set for its reinstatement to the membership of World Athletics," Andresen continued. "The key milestones today have been met as well as key performance indicators set out in the plan."

World Athletics and RusAF

World Athletics, suspended RusAF’s (the All-Russia Athletics Federation) 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 prohibited 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 extend the suspension of 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."

The provisionally suspended senior officials at that time were then-President of RusAF Dmitry Shlyakhtin and several more high-ranking people from the federation for helping to falsify documents, which Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko presented as his excuse for skipping doping tests.

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 repaid the fine on August 12, 2020.

On November 17, 2021, the Congress of the global body of track and field athletics, World Athletics, voted to extend a membership suspension term of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) until the Russian side met all of its reinstatement requirements.