Today: Last Update:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • IAAF: COUNCIL ANNOUNCES NO CHANGE IN RUSAF STATUS, UPDATES


    06/09/19


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

    IAAF TASKFORCE REPORT TO COUNCIL MEETING OF 8 JUNE 2019
    1. I am pleased to present this report on the progress that RusAF has made since
    March to satisfy the conditions set by Council for its reinstatement to membership of the
    IAAF.(1)
    Engagement with RusAF since the Council's March 2019 meeting
    2. Since March 2019, the Taskforce has continued to receive regular updates from
    RusAF on its anti-doping efforts. In particular, RusAF has advised that:
    2.1 RUSADA has 430 RusAF athletes in its testing pools for 2019 (up from 380 in 2018). It
    has collected 1,584 samples from them in the year to date; and it expects to collect a total of
    2,300-2,500 samples from RusAF athletes by the end of 2019. Meanwhile the Athletics
    Integrity Unit (AIU) has advised that it continues to be able to test RusAF's internationallevel athletes effectively and without any improper interference.
    2.2 In 2019 to date, RusAF has endorsed 286 applications for grant of neutral athlete
    status, of which so far 66 have been granted by the Doping Review Board and 22 have been
    rejected.
    2.3 Excluding results of re-analysis of stored samples, 12 RusAF athletes were found to
    have violated the anti-doping rules in 2016, 20 in 2017, 22 in 2018, and 7 in 2019 to date.
    2.4 RusAF acknowledges that more needs to be done to implement and strengthen the
    many various reforms it has introduced since its suspension. For example, it is now
    considering steps to ensure that the regional federations also implement the change to a
    culture of zero tolerance for doping that it has championed from Moscow. This includes
    recruiting representatives of regional federations who are committed to the change in
    culture to join RusAF's Council

    --------------------------------
    (1)As a reminder, RusAF was suspended from membership of the IAAF in November 2015, after
    a WADA Commission concluded there was a systemic and deeply-rooted culture of doping in Russian
    athletics. Council decided that, in order to be reinstated to membership, RusAF must demonstrate
    that it meets the following Reinstatement Conditions: (i) it complies in full with the World AntiDoping Code and IAAF Anti-Doping Rules; (ii) the IAAF and RUSADA (the Russian national anti-doping
    organisation) are and will be able to conduct their anti-doping programmes in Russia (in particular,
    drug-testing) effectively and without interference; and (iii) as a result, the reintegration of Russian
    athletes into international competitions will not jeopardise the integrity of those competitions. A
    number of specific Verification Criteria were identified that have to be met as part of this task.
    In April 2017, Council approved a Roadmap proposed by the Taskforce that identified six
    specific conditions to be met in order for the Taskforce to consider recommending RusAF's
    reinstatement. And in 2018 Council added a further requirement relating to the LIMS data provided
    by WADA to the IAAF in December 2017.
    All of these requirements are designed to ensure that RusAF establishes a culture of zero
    tolerance towards doping in Russian athletics, and that RusAF, RUSADA, and the public authorities in
    Russia, working in cooperation, create an anti-doping infrastructure that is effective in detecting and
    deterring cheats, so that RusAF and its athletes can start participating again in international
    competitions without jeopardising the integrity of those competitions.
    -----------------------------------
    3. Jon Taylor and I have met with RusAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin twice since the
    last Council meeting:
    3.1 We met Mr Shlyakhtin in Oslo on 27 March 2019 to discuss allegations broadcast by
    ARD that 63 of the 94 national team coaches listed on the RusAF website were active
    coaches in the period 2007-2015, during which (we now know) there was widespread
    doping in Russian track & field. That includes Valentin Maslakov, who was head coach of the
    Russian national team in that period and of the women’s 4x400m relay team that won gold
    at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, two of whom were subsequently banned for
    doping. Mr Shlyakhtin disputed the suggestion that this indicated RusAF had not sought to
    distance itself from the 'old guard'. He noted that (a) there is currently no Russian national
    team, because of RusAF's suspension from membership of the IAAF; (b) the list of national
    team coaches is nevertheless maintained to ensure the Centre for Sports Preparation (CSP)
    maintains a budget for athletics; (c) Mr Maslakov remains on the list because he is a highly
    respected professional, none of the athletes he has been directly involved in training has
    ever been found to have doped, he has never been accused of complicity in doping by any
    athletes, and there are no other grounds to dismiss him; (d) there are only 21 national team
    coaches in total on the list, not 94, and of that 21 only two were part of the national team
    coaching staff in the period 2007-2015, and none of their athletes has ever been found to
    have doped; (e) all coaches currently directly involved in training athletes have successfully
    completed anti-doping training and have received licences under RusAF's new licensing
    system for coaches wishing to participate in official RusAF competitions; and (f) whereas
    previously there were no consequences for coaches whose athletes were found to have
    doped, various amendments made to Russian law and RusAF rules since 2015 mean that
    such a coach could lose his job, would lose his RusAF licence (and so could not earn prize
    money from his athletes' performances at official RusAF competitions), and could be subject
    to criminal and administrative penalties. Following our meeting, Mr Shlyakhtin raised the
    matter with the Russian Minister of Sport, Pavel Kolobkov, and told us that Mr Kolobkov was
    clear that the CSP should only engage coaches who have embraced the new culture of zero
    tolerance for doping. The Taskforce notes these comments at face value, but will continue to
    monitor the situation relating to national team coaches closely moving forward.
    3.2 We met with Mr Shlyakhtin again yesterday in Nice at his request, to discuss a
    matter that he himself had brought to our attention (and which has since been reported in
    the Russian and British media), namely that the AIU is investigating allegations that senior
    RusAF officials were complicit in an elite Russian athlete's provision of fabricated medical
    records in an effort to avoid being suspended for a whereabouts violation. Mr Shlyakhtin
    said RusAF had nothing to hide, and he has personally committed to the AIU that RusAF will
    cooperate in full with the AIU's investigation. He explained how he had taken steps to
    ensure that all relevant RusAF personnel make themselves available to the AIU for interview
    and also permitted disclosure to the AIU of all relevant electronic data and information in
    RusAF's control. The Taskforce understands the AIU’s investigation is ongoing.
    4. There have also been the following further developments since March:
    4.1 In May 2019, RUSADA Director-General Yuriy Ganus published an open letter to
    President Putin, blaming the current RusAF management for failing to secure the
    reinstatement of RusAF to IAAF membership, and calling for their replacement by a special
    committee to secure such reinstatement prior to the 2020 Olympic Games. In the letter Mr
    Ganus said: 'RusAF needs real changes, everyone shall leave the world of illusions long ago.
    We need to stop deceiving not only everyone around us, but above all ourselves'; and
    referred to 'possible involvement of the current RusAF management in the crisis, when lifetime disqualified coaches continue their work with leading athletes, with main sportsmen of
    the National Team, disqualified athletes are included in the management of the sports
    training centres in the regions'. In response, Minister Kolobkov was reported in the media as
    saying he did not believe there were any grounds for such action. The Taskforce had already
    been in dialogue with Mr Ganus before he sent the letter, asking him to explain the basis for
    his concerns about the current RusAF management. We will pursue the issue with him
    moving forward.
    4.2 In addition, earlier this week Reuters issued a report alleging that two banned
    coaches (Mokhnev and Volkov) and one banned doctor (Portugalov) were still involved in
    preparing athletes for competition, while Viktor Chegin was still somehow involved with the
    sports training centre in Saransk that used to bear his name. This problem has arisen before,
    and when the Taskforce previously raised it with RusAF, Mr Shlyakhtin agreed to take
    various steps to prevent repetition, including asking the regional authorities to help enforce
    the bans, and getting all national team athletes to acknowledge in writing that they were
    not permitted to associate with the banned individuals. We raised the issue with Mr
    Shlyakhtin again yesterday, and he expressed great frustration that the same allegations
    were being made again, and said he had written immediately to RUSADA, asking that it
    investigate the matter urgently.

    Current status
    5. So where does this leave us?
    6. At its December 2018 meeting, Council identified two outstanding reinstatement
    requirements. The first relates to costs:
    6.1 Council resolved that, in accordance with Verification Criterion 7.2, RusAF must
    reimburse all of the costs incurred by the IAAF prior to and after the reinstatement of RusAF
    as a result of the need to impose, enforce and assess compliance with the Reinstatement
    Conditions and the Verification Criteria (including the Taskforce costs, the costs of the
    Russia-related cases that have been taken to CAS, and the costs incurred by the Doping
    Review Board from 1 January 2018 in dealing with applications from Russian athletes for
    neutral athlete status). Council also resolved that RusAF must sign a formal legal agreement
    to pay any further relevant costs incurred by the IAAF following RusAF’s reinstatement (e.g.,
    the costs of monitoring compliance with post-reinstatement conditions).
    6.2 I am pleased to report that (a) a formal legal contract has been agreed and signed
    with RusAF that meets Council's requirements, and that committed RusAF to pay all
    outstanding invoices before 1 June 2019,as well as all ongoing costs (including the costs of
    overseeing satisfaction of any post-reinstatement conditions imposed by Council) on a
    quarterly basis moving forward; and (b) RusAF paid the three outstanding invoices in full by
    transferring the sum of US$3,246,948 to the IAAF's designated bank account on 31 May
    2019.
    --------------------------
    (2)In October 2018, the IAAF sent RusAF invoice ARAF 09/2018 in the amount of
    US$2,641,465.65 for reimbursement of costs incurred to 30 June 2018. In March 2019, the IAAF sent
    RusAF invoice ARAF 12/2018 in the amount of US$457,701.73 for reimbursement of costs incurred in
    the period 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018. In April 2019, the IAAF sent RusAF invoice ARAF 03/2019
    in the amount of US$147,780.63 for reimbursable costs incurred in the quarter ending 31 March
    2019.
    ---------------------------
    6.3 Moving forward, the IAAF Finance Department will invoice RusAF after each quarter
    for the reimbursable costs incurred in that quarter, starting with the quarter ending 30 June
    2019. RusAF has committed to pay such invoices within 20 days of receipt. Provided it does
    so, this condition will continue to be satisfied.
    7. The second outstanding requirement discussed by Council in December 2018 relates
    to the 1,800 samples collected from RusAF athletes in the period 2012 to August 2015 that
    are referenced in the LIMS database that WADA provided to the AIU in late 2017.
    7.1 Council resolved that RusAF may not be reinstated unless and until the AIU confirms
    that it is satisfied that:
    (a) it has been given the information it requires to identify all of the RusAF
    athletes who provided the 1800 samples in question;
    (b) it has received all of the analytical data produced by the Moscow lab when it
    analysed those samples (i.e., the chromatograms, the electropherograms,
    chain of custody records, etc.);
    (c) any samples that the AIU considers need to be re-analysed (and that are still
    in the possession of the Moscow lab) have been sent to a WADA-accredited
    laboratory for re-analysis;
    (d) these data and samples are authentic and have not been tampered with;
    and
    (e) the AIU therefore has everything in the possession of the Moscow antidoping laboratory that it needs to determine whether any of the RusAF
    athletes whose samples were included in the LIMS database has a case to
    answer for breach of the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules and/or the RusAF AntiDoping Rules.
    7.2 In January 2019, WADA obtained forensic copies of all of the relevant data from the
    Moscow laboratory (approximately 24 terabytes in total), and in April 2019 WADA obtained
    2,262 samples previously stored in the Moscow laboratory, including 493 samples requested
    by the AIU. At the AIU's request, WADA also secured an undertaking from the Russian
    authorities to retain for the next 24 months certain further samples stored at the laboratory
    that are not currently of interest, and to produce them upon demand for re-analysis if
    subsequently requested by WADA or the AIU.
    7.3 WADA has advised the AIU that it will pass most of the data that relate to RusAF
    athletes to the AIU on 18 June 2019, amounting to 110,000 files (several hundred gigabytes
    of data). WADA has also explained that it is still in the process of reviewing the remaining
    data (relating to the samples collected in 2015), and so will only provide that at a later date.
    WADA also agreed to hold the samples collected from RusAF athletes to the AIU's order, and
    will transfer them to a WADA-accredited laboratory for re-analysis upon request by the AIU.
    7.4 The AIU will start analysing the data immediately upon receipt from WADA, (a) to
    determine whether the data provided meets its requirements; (b) to decide which of the
    samples that WADA has obtained need to be re-analysed, and ultimately (c) to decide which
    of the athletes in question have a case to answer for breach of the anti-doping rules. The
    AIU has advised that it will make every effort to complete that task as soon as possible, but
    it is not yet in a position to say how long this will take, particularly given that it will not get
    the 2015 data from WADA till a later date. Therefore, this condition has not yet been met.
    8. Council was also clear that reinstatement would also depend on RusAF continuing to
    satisfy the other requirements in the Verification Criteria and the Roadmap. This raises the
    following points:
    8.1 First, Verification Criterion 6.1 requires RusAF to ‘provide appropriate assurances
    that its officials, coaches and athletes and all other persons under its jurisdiction will act in
    accordance with the [World Anti-Doping] Code moving forward’. This obviously raises the
    question of the AIU's investigation referenced above. If RusAF fails to cooperate in full with
    that investigation, and/or if ultimately it is found that RusAF officials were complicit in an
    effort to fabricate evidence to cover up a doping offence, or there is any other finding of
    improper conduct by RusAF officials, that will obviously be highly relevant to the question of
    whether this requirement has been met. The Taskforce will therefore monitor this issue very
    closely moving forward, liaising as appropriate with the AIU.
    8.2 Second, Verification Criterion 6 requires RusAF to ‘establish[] a strong anti-doping
    culture among RusAF officials, athletes and athlete support personnel’; while Verification
    Criterion 6.1 requires RusAF to ‘demonstrat[e] that effective mechanisms are in place to
    ensure proper enforcement of any consequences imposed for anti-doping rule violations,
    including full respect for any periods of ineligibility imposed’. The recent allegations
    regarding the continued activities of banned coaches raise again the question of whether
    these requirements have been met. Once again, the Taskforce will be monitoring RUSADA’s
    investigation of these recent allegations very closely. If the allegations are found to be true,
    the Taskforce will be considering what that tells us about the commitment in Russian
    athletics to embrace the new culture of zero tolerance for doping.
    Recommendation
    9. It is of course important that RusAF has now paid all of the costs invoiced to date
    (over $3.2 million). And the Taskforce also acknowledges the efforts made by Minister
    Kolobkov to get the data and samples from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory to WADA,
    which means that second outstanding condition is also much closer to being satisfied. Given
    that progress, however, it is extremely frustrating for the Taskforce, and (we expect) for
    Council too, that there are new doubts about whether other conditions have been met.
    10. The Taskforce acknowledges that RusAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin has been very
    upfront about these recent problems, and has assured the Taskforce that he is doing
    everything in his power to get them investigated and resolved as soon as possible. Mr
    Shlyakhtin has repeatedly affirmed his commitment to the new culture of zero tolerance for
    doping in Russian athletics. However, the question is whether all Russian officials and
    athletes share that commitment, particularly in the regions. Perhaps it will require an
    intervention from President Putin himself to help them get the message that things must
    change.
    11. If and when the Taskforce considers that all outstanding conditions have been met,
    it will recommend reinstatement of RusAF's membership benefits, most likely in phases. Any
    such recommendation will also include proposals as to the post-reinstatement conditions
    that the Taskforce considers Council should impose on RusAF to guard against future back-
    sliding. While the matters mentioned above remain outstanding, however, the Taskforce is
    unable to recommend the reinstatement of RusAF’s membership of the IAAF at this time.
    12. Therefore, the Taskforce RECOMMENDS that Council resolves simply to note the
    contents of this report. The Taskforce will then report again at the Council meeting in
    Doha on 23 September 2019, or before that if appropriate (i.e., if there is material
    movement on the outstanding conditions before that, the Taskforce may put a
    recommendation to Council for consideration before the September meeting).

    Rune Andersen, Taskforce Chair
    8 June 2019



    As a service to our readers, Around the Rings will provide verbatim texts of selected press releases issued by Olympic-related organizations, federations, businesses and sponsors.

    These press releases appear as sent to Around the Rings and are not edited for spelling, grammar or punctuation. 

    25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only