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Russian sports chief says RusAF and RUSADA’s reinstatement is main goal for 2022

A legal support of Russian athletes is another top priority for the Sports Ministry, Oleg Matytsin pointed out
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin
© Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. The Russian Sports Ministry’s main task for the upcoming year is the international membership reinstatement of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF) and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said on Tuesday.

"Our [Sports Ministry’s] target for the next year is the RusAF and RUSADA’s reinstatement in their rights," Matytsin stated speaking at the ministry’s enlarged board meeting. "It is one of our top priorities and it also includes a legal support of our athletes."

The Russian sports minister also said that any possible risks or provocations of anti-doping rules violations regarding Russian athletes were inadmissible at the upcoming 2022 Olympic Games, since RUSADA was still struggling to regain its right within the global anti-doping body.

"There were none of anti-doping rules’ violations in Tokyo [during the 2020 Summer Olympics last year]," he said. "I believe that the same situation would be maintained in Beijing."

"The next year will be a landmark year in our reinstatement process and any possible risk or provocation in regard to an alleged doping abuse must be thwarted," Matytsin stated.

"We are currently in a full-fledged fight against doping abuse and I should ask the protocol [officers] to register a fact that the responsibility regarding this issue would be completely within presidents [of Russian sports] federations and their coaching staff," Matytsin added addressing the enlarged board meeting of the Russian Sport Ministry today.

Sanctions against Russian sports

On December 17, 2020, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland’s Lausanne partially upheld WADA’s (the World Anti-Doping Agency) previous ruling on a number of sanctions against Russian sports.

Following the CAS decision, Russian athletes were deprived of their right to participate in all World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia and to the tune of the national anthem for a two-year period.

The ruling of the Swiss-based court also stripped Russia of the right to bid for the organization of all international sports tournaments for a period of two years. WADA’s sanctions will be in force until December 2022.

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.