Press Release09 Jun 2019

No change in RusAF status, Oregon21 review, Nairobi timetable approved - IAAF Council


IAAF CEO Jon Ridgeon and IAAF President Sebastian Coe at the IAAF Council Meeting in Monaco (© Philippe Fitte)

The IAAF Council announced today (9) that there had been no change in status of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).

Reporting to the IAAF Council at its meeting in Monaco, Rune Andersen, the independent chairman of the IAAF Taskforce, said that while some progress has been made, key issues remain outstanding that prevent reinstatement of RusAF.

One criteria has been met, Andersen reported: payment by (RusAF) of all expenses incurred during the Russian crisis, which has totaled US$3.2million to date. A second criteria, he added, is close to being met: receipt of the analytical data and any samples that the AIU needs from the Moscow lab in order to determine which athletes have a case to answer under the IAAF anti-doping rules.

"As soon as the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) receives the data from WADA, it will review to confirm it has everything it needs," Andersen said.

But Andersen said the task force noted recent allegations that RUSAF officials were involved in an attempt to cover up a doping offence by one of their athletes and that banned coaches and a banned doctor continue to work with athletes.

"That calls into question whether RUSAF is able to enforce doping bans, and whether all RUSAF athletes have embraced the change to a new anti-doping culture proclaimed by RUSAF, both of which are conditions for reinstatement. The AIU will be looking into this.

“The Task Force shares Council's frustration that progress in two areas is being undermined in apparent back-sliding in two other areas. [The Task Force] hopes the outstanding issues can be resolved soon. If and when they are, it will report that back at its Council meeting in Doha in September, if not before.”

Oregon21 review

During its morning session, Council heard a detailed review of the World Athletics Championships Oregon21 preparations, an evaluation which will become a regular fixture two years prior to every World Championships moving forward. It's a process, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said, that is "intellectually rigorous and allows us to interrogate those issues that need interrogating at the time, and crucially allows us have more time in order to remedy some of the challenges that emerge".

A key element of the 2021 World Championships, Coe continues, is that the World Championships stadium is a purpose-built one, and because it is purpose-built for athletics, it comes with its challenges.

“The athletes will be a lot closer to the fans and the fans to the athletes, which will create a really unique atmosphere. There are, however, some operational aspects that we need to be creative about. These will be a very different type of championships but that in essence is a good thing. We don't want to just become a homogenous series of events."

Coe said that Council was pleased with the progress organisers are making.

Council was also updated on preparations for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, which are entering its final phases. Here, too, Council was pleased with the LOC report.

Out-of-competition drug testing funding scheme for road races 

During today's press briefing, Coe also underscored the importance of yesterday's decision by Council to approve a new out-of-competition drug testing model and funding framework for road races, one he called "momentous".

"This is close to my heart," Coe said. "With its extraordinary growth in recent years, the road racing industry is at risk of becoming a victim of its own success. We needed to address the potential vulnerabilities that have been identified to protect the future of this growing, vibrant industry before these pathologies overwhelmed us."

Timetable and qualification criteria for IAAF World U20 Championships Nairobi 2020 approved

Council also approved the timetable and qualification criteria for the IAAF World U20 Championships Nairobi 2020, set for 7-12 July.

The Competition Commission also approved a new event which will be piloted at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi which utilises the Gundersen method, a handicap based on points difference converted into time, for the final races of the combined events so the athletes finish in their final rank order.

A number of rules were discussed and changed on the recommendation of the Technical Committee. Those will be reported on in more detail next week.