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The World Athletics Council has approved the reinstatement of the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) programme for clean athletes from Russia, which will commence in time for the 2021 outdoor competition season.
The Russian Taskforce Report, with two amendments from the Council which are listed below, states that for the remainder of 2021, no more than 10 Russian athletes will be granted eligibility to compete as ANA athletes at any championship competition, including the Tokyo Olympic Games, World Athletics Series events and the 2021 European U23 Championships.
The Russian Federation (RusAF) may choose which 10 athletes are able to compete from those who have been granted ANA status, but it must prioritise the selection of athletes who are in the International Registered Testing Pool.
There is no cap on the number of Russian athletes who may compete at other international competitions, provided they have ANA status.
Russian athletes in the under 15 age group may continue to compete in under 15 international competitions as neutral athletes without applying to the Doping Review Board.
However, these provisions may be revoked at any time if World Athletics’ Russia Taskforce advises that satisfactory progress is not being made against the milestones and Key Performance Indicators set out in the Reinstatement Plan.
The World Athletics Council will review the ANA programme at its final meeting in 2021 to determine if it should be renewed or revised for international competition in 2022.
The RusAF Reinstatement Plan was approved by the Council on 1 March and Taskforce Chair Rune Andersen said in his report to the Council today that “strong pressure needs to be maintained to ensure that RusAF’s stakeholders remain incentivised to back RusAF management in their implementation of the plan”.
He added that “the Taskforce strongly sympathises with clean Russian athletes who continue to miss out on participation in international competitions while the work towards reinstatement of RusAF continues”.
The Council also agreed that the decision made in July 2020 to propose that Congress expels RusAF from memberships of World Athletics, will be reactivated if RusAF does not continue to pay the full costs of the reinstatement process and/or does not make satisfactory progress against the Reinstatement Plan.
Andersen said the Taskforce would continue to monitor RusAF’s progress carefully.
Event hosting opportunities
Following the news yesterday that 12 cities from around the globe have expressed interest in hosting the 2023 World Athletics Road Running Championships, it has been confirmed that four cities have expressed interest in hosting the World Athletics Championships in 2025.
World Athletics is also preparing to open the bidding processes for six other World Athletics Series events later this month - the 2024 and 2026 World Athletics Indoor Championships, the 2024 and 2016 World Athletics Cross Country Championships and the 2024 and 2026 World Athletics U20 Championships.
The bidding processes for the 2024 and 20216 World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships will open in July this year.
8.1 The Authorised Neutral Athlete process shall be reinstated, with the Doping Review Board to be entitled to revise that process where it considers it necessary or helpful to do so to facilitate its decision-making.
8.2 For the remainder of 2021, no more than ten athletes (in total, not per competition) will be granted eligibility to compete (as Authorised Neutral Athletes) in the following international competitions: (a) the athletics programme for the Olympic Games; (b) any relevant World Athletics Series events; and (c) the 2021 European Under-23 Championships. RusAF may choose which athletes will make up these ten ANAs out of those who have applied for and been granted ANA status, but it must choose athletes in the International Registered Testing Pool in priority to any other athletes. No changes may be made to the ten designated ANAs, for any reason, once they have been nominated by RusAF.
8.3 There is no cap on the number of Russian athletes who may compete (if invited, and if they have been granted ANA status) in international competitions other than those listed in paragraph 8.2.
8.4 Russian under-15 athletes may continue to compete in under-15 international competitions as neutral athletes without the need to make individual applications to the Doping Review Board.
8.5 Council may revoke the above provisions relating to Authorised Neutral Athletes at any time (a) if the Taskforce advises that satisfactory progress is not being made against the milestones and KPIs set out in the Reinstatement Plan; or (b) if any of the ten athletes designated to compete as ANAs in the Olympic Games etc. commits an anti-doping rule violation.