Athletics stars such as Yelena Isinbayeva made Russia a force before a series of bans damaged the sport in the country Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) may be expelled from World Athletics (WA) if the federation does not pay an outstanding fine owed to the world governing body for the sport.

In a statement released late on Thursday, WA has conveyed its decision to expel RusAF if the national body for sport in Russia fails to make the outstanding payments of a $5 million (Dh18.6 million) fine and $1.31 million in costs, by August 15.


The WA Council arrived at the resolution at its teleconference meeting following recommendations tabled in a report by the special taskforce chaired by Rune Andersen.

Addressing the Council, Andersen expressed his disappointment that the taskforce had seen “very little in terms of changing the culture of Russian athletics” during the past five years.

“The taskforce has spent an enormous amount of time and effort trying to help RusAF reform itself and Russian athletics, for the benefit of all clean Russian athletes, but the response from RusAF has been inadequate,” Andersen said.

It may be recalled that the WA Council decided in March to sanction RusAF’s admitted breaches of the Anti-Doping Rules during the Lysenko investigation with a $10 million fine, with $5 million to be paid by July 1, 2020, while the balance $5 million would stay suspended. RusAF failed to pay either the initial amount or the related costs by the July 1 deadline, thereby invoking action from WA.

However, Russia seems to be showing serious signs towards change after Russian Minister of Sport, Oleg Matytsin, sent a letter to WA promising to make the overdue payments by August 15 at the latest.

1. Payment in full of the two outstanding RusAF invoices to be received on or before close of business in Monaco on August 15, 2020.
2. The RusAF Reinstatement Commission to provide the draft plan referenced in the third paragraph of Council’s decision of March 12, 2020 — of suitable scope and depth, with an implementation plan and progress indicators — to the taskforce on or before August 31, 2020.
3. Any changes required by the Taskforce to the draft plan to be incorporated to the taskforce’s satisfaction on or before September 30, 2020.
4. The plan to be brought into effect and satisfactory progress achieved against the plan (as determined by the taskforce, based on the input of the international experts appointed by World Athletics), as reported by the taskforce to Council at each of its subsequent meetings.

In light of this assurance, the taskforce has kept the decision in a suspended state and, in fact, worked out a series of recommendations, provided the RusAF meets the conditions laid down by the Andersen-led body.

The recommendations from the special taskforce include payment in full of the two outstanding invoices at least on August 15 along with a draft plan “of suitable scope and depth” indicating its willingness to change athletics in Russia.

The taskforce has also decreed that Russians may apply for Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA) status for competitions to be held in 2020 in accordance with the process specified by the Doping Review Board.

However, it has also specified that no ANA status will be granted to any athlete for 2020 competitions unless and until the outstanding payments have been made to WA. Should RusAF fail to make the payments, then WA will stick to its March decision wherein no more than ten athletes will be granted ANA status for World Athletics Series events.

It may be interesting to note that the only such event scheduled for 2020 is the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships to be held in Gdynia, Poland.

Further, the Council’s March 2020 decision to allow up to 10 ANA athletes for World Athletics Series events and the Tokyo Olympics will be reviewed no earlier than December 2020, based on an assessment of the progress made by RusAF against the re-instatement plan.