25th January 2019

IAAF Council will be unable to restore RusAF’s membership in March

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council will be unable to recommend that the Russian Athletics Federation’s (RusAF) membership be restored at its March IAAF Council meeting, meaning its athletes will remain suspended from international competition. This is because the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has outlined that it could take ‘two to three months’ to analyse the data retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory, after which it will ask the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to perform reanalysis if any suspicious findings relate to samples still stored at the Moscow Laboratory.

However, RusAF has a different interpretation. It has withdrawn an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against an IAAF decision not to reinstate its membership, as it believes it had satisfied the IAAF’s reinstatement conditions.

On 22 January, the WADA decided that Russia’s failure to meet the 31 December deadline to hand over data from the Moscow Laboratory would not result in the re-suspension of RUSADA. Analysis of the data could be completed by March at the earliest, after which RUSADA will be required to re-analyse any suspicious samples identified as a result of that analysis that remain in the Moscow Laboratory by 30 June. 

At its December 2018 meeting, the IAAF Council decided that RusAF’s suspension be maintained until it pays for all costs related to its suspension; and until the IAAF receives samples taken from 1,000 Russian athletes between 2012 and August 2015, as well as the analytical data relating to them. The IAAF has outlined that as it is unlikely to receive the data and samples it requires by March, and it has yet to receive payment for costs incurred relating to RusAF’s suspension through 30 June 2018, its Taskforce will be unable to recommend that the IAAF Council lift RusAF’s suspension. It also confirmed that a second invoice for costs incurred from 30 June to 31 December 2018 is being prepared. 

‘The Athletics Integrity Unit [AIU – an IAAF body] first need to get the data from WADA and this will happen only when WADA review them and identify which data involve athletes from our sport’, wrote an IAAF spokesperson in an email. ‘The WADA release says it will be two to three months before it will be ready to given any information to the international sports federations. The AIU, after receiving the data, would need to review and analyse them to find out if there are further individual cases involving athletes from our sport and if needed to request analysis of the samples based on the data review.

‘Rune Andersen, the independent chair of the IAAF Taskforce will prepare a report for the IAAF Council in March as usual. Regarding the second invoice it’s being prepared and will be issued shortly and we are still awaiting payment of the first invoice.’

As a result of WADA’s decision not to re-suspend RUSADA, RusAF has withdrawn a CAS appeal against the IAAF’s 27 July 2018 decision not to reinstate its membership. ‘Given that the criteria for restoration of RusAF’s membership of the IAAF (recognition of the IOC’s Schmid Report, provision of the Moscow Laboratory database to WADA) are now satisfied, there is no longer a need for a challenge’, read a RusAF statement.

WADA’s 22 January decision was welcomed by Dmitry Shlyakhtin, President of RusAF. “The issue of the transfer of data from the Moscow Laboratory was part one of the two remaining criteria for the restoration of RusAF”, he said in a statement. “We are pleased that today, in addressing this complex and challenging issue, this point has been set and our criterion in partially met”.

Shlyakhtin indicated that he was aware that WADA had to analyse the data and required RUSADA to re-analyse any suspicious samples before 30 June, after which any suspicious findings would be passed to the international federations. “With regards to this criterion, we await developments”, he said in the statement. “But if we talk about our area of responsibility, for RusAF’s membership of the IAAF to be restored, we must perform one more criterion – to resolve the financial issue of payment of debts to the IAAF. To date, we have not yet received from the IAAF the final amount of debt, plus costs, for the second half of last year.”

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed that it will provide an update on the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) on 8 February. For the RPC to be be reinstated, the IPC has previously said that it must provide ‘an official response that specifically and adequately addresses the finings made by Professor McLaren (a criterion that WADA initially identified) and RUSADA must be reinstated by WADA. In addition, the RPC must pay to the IPC the reimbursement costs outlined in the reinstatement criteria. These currently stand at €257,500 and cover, amongst other things, the IPC testing programme of Russian Para athletes and the costs related to the IPC Taskforce.’

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