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  • Russian Biathlon Still Out in the Cold


    09/03/19

    (ATR) The Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) will not be reinstated as a full member of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) at next month’s IBU extraordinary congress.

    Russia has been a provisional member of the IBU since December of 2017 (IBU)
    The IBU says its executive board decided “it is too early to make a final decision” after being informed by IBU representatives of the IBU/RBU Criteria Follow-Up Working Group that the evaluation and implementation of the 12 criteria needed for RBU reinstatement are "not yet finished”.

    The criteria includes the future testing program of Russian biathletes, the reimbursement of costs, setting up a special doping prevention program, mandatory anti-doping education, access to the Moscow LIMS data, and full cooperation with investigations into potential past anti-doping rule violations while RUSADA must maintain compliance with the WADA Code.

    The IBU imposed the terms of reinstatement in November of last year, but did not give an explicit timeline for Russia to comply with the criteria.

    Citing “the Russian doping conspiracy” surrounding Sochi 2014, the IBU originally relegated the RBU to provisional status in December 2017, a situation that was supposed to initially last only through the 2017-18 season. That meant that Russians could take part in IBU events, but would not have a vote in the federation.

    Then, Austrian and Norwegian authorities raided the IBU in April 2018, investigating links between then president Anders Besseberg and secretary general Nicole Resch and cover ups related to doping tests of Russian athletes. Besseberg and Resch both denied wrongdoing but stepped aside from the IBU pending the investigation. The IBU decided to keep Russia's provisional status in place during its annual congress last September.

    IBU president Olle Dahlin (Getty Images)
    Olle Dahlin was elected President to replace Besseberg at that congress. The Swede ran on a platform of implementing concrete reforms “that will improve good governance and transparency”.

    The federation has made progress in that regard. The IBU Executive Board announced on Monday that it had approved the final version of the new IBU constitution and strategic plan, incorporating feedback from the IBU’s national federations.

    The highlight of the documents is the proposal to create an independent Biathlon Integrity Unit (BIU), which will centrally manage all integrity-related matters concerning biathlon.

    The final version will be presented to the national federations for approval at the extraordinary congress, which will be held from Oct. 18-20 in Munich.

    “We want to be the very best in everything we do and to do that we need to have a cutting-edge Constitution and an innovative and forward-thinking Strategic Plan which guides our future,” Dahlin said in a statement.

    “These documents will now be sent to our National Federations and we look forward to presenting them in person for their approval during the Congress. We are proud of the progress we have made together and the Congress will be the beginning of a truly new and exciting era for biathlon.”

    Homepage graphic: RBU


    Written by Gerard Farek

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