ARAF to operate ‘without interference’ and Russian athletes to pass at least three tests before reinstatement
The All-Russia Athletics Federation will have to show that it can carry out its legitimate activities “effectively and without interference,” and that Russian athletes can again take part in international competitions without jeopardizing the integrity of those competitions, before a suspension imposed by the IAAF for ARAF’s part in “state-sponsored doping” in Russian athletics is lifted.
The IAAF, athletics’ word governing body, said on Friday: “Any athlete who wishes to compete in an international event after ARAF is reinstated to IAAF membership will have to demonstrate that he/she has undergone at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (and, for endurance athletes, at least three Athlete Biological Passport tests, blood and urine) in the six months prior to the event.”
Russian athletes risk missing out on competing in next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August unless ARAF is reinstated before then.
The IAAF has published a set of conditions that ARAF will have to fulfil to end its suspension, along with stringent “verification criteria” that will be applied as part of the terms of reference of a taskforce it has appointed to oversee reform of the national governing body for the sport.
The IAAF is itself under scrutiny by an independent commission appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency after individuals with close connections to the federation, including Lamine Diack, its former president, were accused of complicity in the doping scandal.
The IAAF said that ARAF “has to demonstrate (by its own efforts but also by securing the support and assistance of other relevant parties, as necessary) that the following conditions (the Reinstatement Conditions) have been met, and can reasonably be expected to continue to be met moving forward:
“(1) compliance by ARAF with all of the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Programme and of the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules and Regulations that are applicable to a national federation;
“(2) both the IAAF and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency ‘RUSADA’ (once RUSADA has been declared Code-compliant again) are able to carry out their respective anti-doping activities in Russia and in relation to Russian athletes and athlete support personnel effectively and without interference;
“(3) as a result the participation of Russian athletes and athlete support personnel will not jeopardise the integrity of international competitions.”
The IAAF said that the verification criteria, include:
• “Cleaning house.” ARAF must demonstrate that none of its directors, officers or staff has any past involvement in doping, must sever ties with anyone who cannot meet this requirement (including Dr Sergei Portugalov, pending the outcome of the case against him), and must introduce a comprehensive code of ethics and reasonable term limits for all of its officials moving forward.
Portugalov, former deputy director of the Russian Federal Research Centre of Physical Culture and Sports, has been accused of being the mastermind behind the doping scheme, advising athletes on doping, administering injections and helping cover up positive drugs tests.
• “Resolving pending disciplinary cases.”: All of the pending disciplinary cases against Russian athletes and athlete support personnel must be resolved “expeditiously (generally, within three months).”
• “Investigating potential further cases.” ARAF must conduct thorough investigations into any further potential doping cases involving Russian athletes and/or athlete support personnel. The investigations must include interviewing all athletes who may have been provided with drugs and/or counselled on doping by athlete support personnel named in the WADA independent commission’s report, as well as all athletes who have represented Russia at senior level in the past four years and all international-level athletes who have been sanctioned for doping in the past four years.
• “Drug-testing and results management.” Until RUSADA is back in operation, the IAAF will organise the drug-testing of the top tier of Russian athletes, including putting certain of those athletes in its registered testing pool and collecting whereabouts information from them for purposes of out-of-competition testing.
• “Establishing a strong anti-doping culture moving forward.” ARAF must demonstrate that its athletes, athlete support personnel and officials are committed to clean sport moving forward. This includes obtaining unequivocal signed declarations from them to that effect, providing them with comprehensive anti-doping education, and actively promoting an open anti-doping culture. ARAF must also create a mechanism for whistle-blowing to the IAAF or WADA if athletes see or hear of any doping practices.”
The IAAF added: “ARAF will also stop any practices or systems that could incentivise doping, and will ensure effective deterrence of future doping through broad publication of doping bans, imposition of additional monetary penalties for doping, and the proposed criminalisation of the distribution and trafficking of prohibited substances under Russian law.”
“Next steps” in the case will involve ARAF setting up a “coordination committee of suitably qualified representatives” to ensure that ARAF implements the verification criteria.
The IAAF concluded: “The ARAF coordination committee members must meet regularly together and with the IAAF Taskforce as necessary to monitor progress and to discuss future steps. This will include agreeing the date and schedule of the first visit of the IAAF Taskforce to Russia which will take place in January 2016.”
Sebastian Coe, the IAAF’s president, said: “The conditions we have announced leave no room for doubt. Russia must demonstrate verifiable change across a range of criteria and satisfy our taskforce that those criteria will be met permanently. There is no timeline for Russia. It is up to them to implement verifiable change both in anti-doping practice and culture.”
Late last month, Russia accepted the full suspension of ARAF in the wake of the high-profile doping scandal, and said that it would co-operate with the IAAF in the hope of ARAF being reinstated in time for its athletes to compete at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
The IAAF has previously said that the earliest the reinstatement could happen is after next year’s World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon on 18 to 20 March.
By Callum Murray, Editorial Director
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Sportcal