2nd December 2020

World Athletics Council sets course for 2021 in latest meeting

The final World Athletics Council meeting of 2020 has made a range of far-reaching decisions to guide the sport into the near-future. The Council received reports and updates on a variety of events and issues and considered actions involving the global calendar, World Athletics Series events and the Russian Federation. The following decisions were made.

Russian Federation

The chair of the Russian Taskforce Rune Andersen reported that there has been progress on the part of the Russian Federation in developing a meaningful Reinstatement Plan to drive the cultural change required for Russia to return to full international membership of the sport. Andersen said that a foundation had been laid in recent months for the new RusAF leadership, which was elected on Monday, to put an appropriate plan in place by the deadline of 1 March 2021.

“Well-qualified international experts have been appointed who will work on the ground with RusAF in Russia, helping it to draw up a detailed strategic and operational plan with clear objectives and timelines,” Andersen said. “A new framework agreement has been put in place that sets out how the Taskforce and the international experts will help RusAF to finalise and implement that plan, and that commits RusAF to continuing to pay the costs incurred by World Athletics in the process. The international experts have already begun working with the senior RusAF management team, and have reported that that team has been very responsive and constructive in its approach.”

The two independent experts appointed by World Athletics to work with RusAF are Margarita Pakhnotskaya, the former deputy Director-General of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency RUSADA, and Vladas Stankevicius, a Russian-speaking change management professional, lawyer and ethics and compliance expert. Former World Anti-Doping Agency international expert Peter Nicholson will support the other two experts remotely.

Andersen confirmed that he had an “open and constructive” first discussion with the new RusAF President Piotr Ivanov yesterday and requested that Ivanov work closely with the international experts to move the plan forward. “If he puts the necessary commitment and resources behind the project, and wins the support for that effort of RusAF’s key stakeholders in Moscow and in the regions, then the Taskforce and the international experts stand ready to help him achieve the reinstatement of RusAF’s membership of World Athletics and the re-introduction of its athletes to international competition,” Andersen said.

The Council approved revised terms of reference for the Taskforce to reflect these recent developments. RusAF must meet the deadline of 1 March 2021 and continue to pay the costs associated with the reinstatement process or the Council decision from July this year – to propose that Congress expels RusAF from membership of World Athletics – will come into effect.

The Council will consider whether to allow Russian athletes to compete again as Authorised Neutral Athletes in international competitions (including allowing up to 10 ANAs to participate in World Athletics Series events and the Tokyo Olympic Games) at its next meeting, in March 2021, or earlier if the Taskforce so recommends, based on the progress made by RusAF to that date.

Belarus

The Council agreed that World Athletics’ newly established Risk Committee should undertake a thorough review of the situation in Belarus for discussion at the next meeting in March 2021. This discussion will include whether World Athletics should move forward with hosting the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Minsk in 2022 or find an alternative host.

World Athletics Series events

The Council has also approved new dates for two World Athletics Series events scheduled for early 2022. The World Athletics Cross Country Championships will be held in Bathurst, Australia on 19 February 2022. The championships were postponed from March 2021 due to the international disruption caused by the global pandemic this year.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 will be held one month later, from 18-20 March 2022. This moves the championships back by one week from the original dates of 11-13 March 2022. Additionally, the Council has approved the qualification systems and entry standards for the World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 21 and the World Championships Oregon22, which will be released later this week.

• This media release was published by World Athletics on 2 December 2020. Click here for the original.

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