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Russian athletics chief takes case to court over IAAF reinstatement

By AFP
media Athletics chief Sebastian Coe faces a demand from the Russians to have their athletes ban terminated AFP/File

Russian athletics, emboldened by WADA's lifting of the three-year ban on Russia's anti-doping agency (RUSADA) has demanded to have its ban from track and field terminated, according to a letter seen by The Times.

Russian athletics chief Dmitry Shlyaktin sent the letter to Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), informing him he is taking the case to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

Shlyaktin argues that the reasons for the banning of his organisation and its athletes, which the IAAF imposed in November 2015, are no longer pertinent as they were the same ones the World Anti-Doping Agency used when they punished RUSADA.

WADA suspended RUSADA, also in November 2015, after declaring it non-compliant following revelations of a vast state-backed scheme to avoid drug testers.

"Given that the outstanding criteria for RUSAF's (Russian athletics federation) reinstatement were essentially identical to those that the WADA executive committee has considered met, and that time is of the essence, we respectfully request that the IAAF decide to reinstate RUSAF as soon as possible," wrote Shlyatkin.

"In the meantime, however, RUSAF has no choice but to protect its rights and, accordingly, has filed today an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the IAAF Council's decision to extend RUSAF's suspension."

The IAAF told The Times in light of the letter: "We have led the way to fight for clean athletes and we will continue to do so."

Coe, who has consistently been the most prominent sports administrator in taking a hard line over the doping scandal, had said following WADA's decision to lift the ban that Russia needed to meet two pre-conditions to be allowed to return to international athletics competition. The IAAF will next broach the subject at a Council meeting in December.

"The reinstatement of RUSADA was one of three pre-conditions," he said in a statement issued by the IAAF.

"The other two pre-conditions are Russian authorities must acknowledge the findings of the McLaren and Schmid Commissions that Ministry of Sport officials were implicated in the scheme to cover up the doping of Russian athletes as described in their reports.

"The Russian authorities must (also) provide access to the data from testing of samples at the Moscow lab from 2011 to 2015, so that the Athletics Integrity Unit can determine whether the suspicious findings reported in the Moscow lab's database should be pursued."

The decision to lift the ban on RUSADA was taken last week at a meeting of WADA's executive committee -- subject it said to "strict conditions" -- but the softening of their stance triggered outrage from athletes and national anti-doping agencies around the world.

They accused WADA of succumbing to pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

 
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