Russian athletes banned from Rio Olympics over state-sponsored doping


VIENNA, Austria – The world athletics governing body has upheld a ban on Russian athletes imposed in the wake of a state-sponsored doping scandal.

The International Association of Athletics Federations voted unanimously to maintain Russia’s athletics ban ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games.

The decision was reached following the conclusion of a meeting of the IAAF council on Friday afternoon in Vienna as Russia did not meet the criteria for readmission laid down in November.

Russia was banned from international competition after details of state-sponsored doping were outlined in a 325-page independent report commissioned by Wada.

The IAAF, headed by Lord Coe, had come under pressure to uphold its ban to avoid the sport’s reputation being further tarnished.

However, next Tuesday in Lausanne a meeting of leaders from the International Olympic Committee, international sports federations and national Olympic and anti-doping bodies will consider “whether and if individual athletes should be given individual justice”. The IOC executive board will meet over the weekend before the summit.

Many expect those Russian athletes who have not tested positive for a banned substance will appeal to the court of arbitration for sport, arguing that it is wrong to punish clean athletes for the crimes of others.

John Coates, the Australian IOC member, said on Friday morning that he expected the ban to be upheld.

“We will look at the next step for us,” he said. “The debate next Tuesday will be on the issue of individual justice and rights.

“I would think there would be appeal opportunities, I would imagine for someone who can establish their individual integrity.

“It may be that our meeting next week will set some guidelines for the international federations who again would have the task of deciding if there’s any individual within a federation that they’ve put out who ought to be allowed in, what hurdles that person would need to have to jump.

“My guess is they’d have to establish they were regularly tested outside of Russia by an anti-doping authority and the samples were analysed outside of Russia on a regular basis.”

The Russian sports ministry said it was “extremely disappointed” over the decision. It added: “We now appeal to the members of the International Olympic Committee to not only consider the impact that our athletes’ exclusion will have on their dreams and the people of Russia, but also that the Olympics themselves will be diminished by their absence.”