Russia’s reinstatement process has been suspended by the World Athletics Council following fresh anti-doping charges against senior officials.
The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) has been banned from competition since 2015 and the suspension will now continue indefinitely as the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) made its latest recommendations to the council.
On Thursday “several senior federation officials” from RusAF were charged with and provisionally suspended for tampering and complicity.
The AIU has charged the Russian Athletics Federation with obstructing an investigation and has provisionally suspended several senior federation officials for tampering and complicity following a 15-month investigation. Find out more ⬇️https://t.co/6YlhDEdAYx#AIUNews1/2 pic.twitter.com/ZwvyLAhfcw
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) November 21, 2019
In its findings, the AIU taskforce called for the immediate suspension of the reinstatement process until the latest charges had been answered.
World Athletics then confirmed on Friday evening that it had taken the step to halt Russia’s return to competition.
“There is an ongoing process and we have to respect that process,” taskforce chairman Rune Andersen said in the statement.
“There are charges laid by the AIU which we need to respect, and the AIU needs to receive feedback from RusAF by 12 December.
“When we have the answers from the AIU on what has been going on and what the process will be, then we will convene and look at the whole structure and we will come up with recommendations to the council.”
World Athletics president Lord Coe added: “It is really important that we continue with the process we began in November 2015. The recommendation that was given to us today, and unanimously accepted by the council, was in the spirit of that process.
“We will take this through to wherever we need to take it to protect the athletes and the sport.”
On Friday night the World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed its independent compliance review committee (CRC) had recommended the Russian national anti-doping agency be declared non-compliant.
WADA’s Compliance Review Committee recommends non-compliance for RUSADA: https://t.co/HQMsoXA4ya
— WADA (@wada_ama) November 22, 2019
The recommendation was sent after Russia failed to provide adequate explanations for inconsistencies in laboratory data which WADA obtained in January of this year.
The recommendation also contained suggested sanctions, which are confidential at this stage, to be considered by WADA’s executive committee when it gathers in Paris for an emergency session on December 9.
The recommended sanctions could include barring Russia from competing in and hosting international sports events. The Court of Arbitration for Sport will ultimately rule on the case if the WADA ExCo endorses the CRC recommendations.