MOSCOW (Web Desk) – Russia’s athletics federation has been provisionally suspended from international competition – including the Olympic Games – for its alleged involvement in widespread doping.
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The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has temporarily suspended the Russian Athletics Federation following an ongoing doping scandal. This means Russian athletes are now banned from competition for an unspecified period, Russia Today reported.
The decision will take immediate effect and means that Russia’s track and field teams will not be able to take part in international competitions, as the sports governing body in Russia has been suspended, according to a press release sent out by the IAAF.
It is now unclear whether Russia’s athletes will be able to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as no timeline has been given as to when the suspension may be lifted.
“Today we have been dealing with the failure of ARAF and made the decision to provisionally suspend them, the toughest sanction we can apply at this time. But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said commenting on the decision.
The IAAF took action after the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report that alleged “state-sponsored doping”. Its council members voted 22-1 in favour of Russia being banned.
“This is a wake-up call for all of us,” Coe told the BBC.
“Our sport finds itself in a shameful situation. I am wholly focused on the changes that need to be made. I have openly conceded that we need to learn some very tough lessons.
“We need to look at ourselves, within our sport, and we will do that.”
Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the suspension was “temporary” and the “problem is solvable”.
The country’s IAAF council member was not allowed to participate in Friday’s vote.
As it stands, Russian athletes may not enter international competitions, including the World Athletic Series and Rio Olympics, which begin on 5 August next year.
Russia will also not be entitled to host the 2016 World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary and the 2016 World Junior Championships in Kazan.
The IAAF says that unless the Russian Athletics Federation (Araf) voluntarily accepts a full suspension, it is entitled to proceed to a full hearing on whether the provisional suspension should be made full.
Former sprinter Frankie Fredericks, head of the IAAF athletes commission, added: “We are angry at the damage being caused to the reputation and credibility of athletics and are united alongside our president to not shy away from the major challenges that face our sport.”