24th April 2020

Commission formed to restore RusAF to full membership of World Athletics

A new Restoration Commission to restore full membership of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) to World Athletics has been formed, and details of its membership forwarded to World Athletics. It is headed by RusAF President Evgeny Yurchenko (Евгений Юрченко), includes its Legal Director, Irina Lyuboserdova (Ирина Любосердова) as well as three members of its Athletes Commission, Yelena Isinbayeva (Елена Исинбаева), Maria Aglitskaya (Мария Аглицкая) and Jennifer Akiniymika (Дженнифер Акиниймика). RusAF said that ‘at least’ two members would form part of the Restoration Commission when announcing its the composition of the Athlete Commission on 9 April.

The Restoration Commission also features Odes Baysultanov (Одес Байсултанов), a Deputy Minister of Sport and former Chairman of the Government of the Chechen Republic; Andrey Konokotin (Андрей Конокотин) and Valery Kuvaev (Валерий Куваев), Director of Sports and Head of Cooperation with national sporting federations at the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC); Yuriy Ganus (Юрия Гануса) and Margarita Pakhnotskaya (Маргарита Пахноцкая), Director General and Deputy Director General of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

A meeting was held between Ganus and Igor Sidorkevich (Игорь Сидоркевич), a Deputy Minister of Sport, on 18 December last year. A source has alleged that at that meeting, it was agreed that RUSADA would be allowed to participate in the reinstatement of RusAF if it didn’t endorse the findings of an Report commissioned by the Chuvash government into allegations of anti-doping rule violations (ADRV) in the region. Ganus argues that the purpose of this meeting was to discuss the fight against doping.

Ganus and Pakhnotskaya proposed the creation of a Restoration Commission to reinstate RusAF on 5 December. A statement from the ROC indicates that it considers itself and the Ministry of Sport as spearheading the Restoration Commission, announcing that it will invite others to participate (including RUSADA). A later statement shows that on 3 February, RusAF delegated to this group ‘powers to interact with the World Athletics, Athletics Integrity Unit, the World Athletics working group and other international organizations, as well as to organize and hold an extraordinary VFLA election conference, scheduled for February 28, 2020’. As such, there are concerns about whether this election complied with the Article 9.1(c) of the World Athletics Constitution (click here to download), which requires Member Federations to hold democratic elections.

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