The World Athletics Council today fined the Russian Athletics Federation $10 million for breaching the sport’s Anti-Doping Rules, and, while reinstating the Authorised Neutral Athlete process for Russian athletes, has capped at 10 the number of Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA) allowed to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and other specified World Athletics and European Athletics senior events.
There is no restriction on the number of ANA athletes that can compete in international one-day events around the world, once they have been granted ANA status by World Athletics Doping Review Board. However, the ANA process will be suspended if $5 million of the $10m fine is not paid by 1 July 2020.
The remaining $5 million of the fine will be suspended for two years, to be paid immediately if during that period RusAF commits a further breach of the Anti-Doping Rules or fails to make meaningful progress towards satisfying the reinstatement conditions set by Council.
The ANA application process remains broadly the same, with strengthened criteria to be issued by the Doping Review Board on behalf of Council within the next week.
The World Athletics Council also approved a new set of criteria for RusAF’s reinstatement, which includes:
- RusAF establishing a Reinstatement Commission with representation from a number of organisations and at least two representatives appointed by RusAF’s Athletes’ Commission;
- Two international experts designated by World Athletics to participate in the work and meetings of the Reinstatement Commission, with RusAF bearing the costs;
- The RusAF Reinstatement Commission to draw up a detailed plan to ingrain throughout Russian Athletics a zero tolerance for doping culture, which will be subject to approval by the World Athletics Council.
- The two international experts to work with RusAF, in Russia, to ensure the plan is effectively implemented on the ground, and the change in culture is embedded throughout RusAF’s processes and decision-making.
Commenting on the Council’s decision, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said:
“The package of sanctions approved by the Council today reflects the seriousness of RusAF’s wrongdoing and sends a clear message that we take these types of offenses by our Member Federations extremely seriously. We have consistently tried to separate the clean athletes from a tainted system, which is why we have reinstated the ANA process for athletes from Russia, enabling them to once again compete in International one-day competitions and earn prize money, but we have restricted the number of athletes eligible to compete in senior International and European events, including at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Clearly the previous measures were not enough to change the culture in Russian athletics. We hope this further measure will be sufficient to provoke real change.
“The decision to suspend half of $10 million fine for a period of two years is predicated on the cultural and behavioural change we want to see across all structures in athletics in Russia. But we need to be clear, if the initial sum of $5 million is not paid by 1 July 2020, then the entire decision made today will be revisited and could result in the ANA status being revoked indefinitely.
“The Council feels severely let down by the previous RusAF administration, which is why it has approved a new set of criteria for reinstatement of the Federation. This requires the new administration to set a clear roadmap for reinstatement, to be approved by Council, and greater oversight of the roadmap process by independent international personnel based in Russia.”