High time to dissolve IAAF, says Russian sports minister

Moscow, July 10 (IANS) It is high time now to dissolve the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Sunday, commenting on the association’s decision to reject applications from all Russian athletes for participation in international competitions, except for long jumper Darya Klishina.

Earlier on Sunday, the IAAF rejected applications from all Russian athletes for participation in international competitions, including the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro starting on August 5, except for Klishina, who is trained outside Russia.

“In my opinion, it was complicated to expect anything different from them. They are outside the legal sphere. It is high time already to dissolve that organisation,” the minister told Tass.

“It does not surprise me, though disappoints. They have already taken themselves into a deadlock,” he added.

“This is anything else now but sports. Athletes nowadays are deprived of freedom.”

According to Mutko, the IAAF has made a shameful decision, and actions of that organisation are similar to Bacchanalia.

“For decades people have been giving their lives to sports, and IAAF was earning revenues on them, sold commercial rights, and now this is how it behaves. I am ashamed for them, this is not at all a sports organisation,” he said.

“There should be an end to this Bacchanalia. All criteria are met, the Russian Athletics Federation has spent colossal money for testing athletes.”

“Now it turns out this is not to believe either — judging from the letters IAAF has sent to our athletes? And we are being tested in the UK,” the minister added.

Russia will file a lawsuit to a civil court if the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne rejects the claim from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) regarding Russian athletes, Mutko said.

“I believe, if we do not find justice at CAS, we shall address a civil court,” he said.

“IAAF is an organisation, where former president is under investigation, and vice president who worked with him, and the people who were responsible for the doping policies, they all are where they were,” he said.

“And now IAAF judges us, teaches some criteria. This all is very shameful.”

In early January, the IAAF’s former marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack was suspended for life from any activities related to athletics. Besides, IAAF former President Lamine Diack is under investigation on charges with taking a bribe of 200,000 euros ($221,010) to delay sanctions against Russian athletes.

France’s prosecution continues investigation into Diack and his former advisor Habib Cisse.

Following its session in Vienna on June 17, IAAF decided to keep in force the earlier imposed suspension of the All-Russia Athletics Federation’s (ARAF) membership in the global athletics body.

The suspension implied that Russian field and track athletes were ineligible to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil except those who proved to be doping-clean.

The IAAF announced late last month that it amended the organisation’s regulations in order to allow field and track athletes from Russia to submit individual applications for international tournaments.

The world’s governing body of athletics, however, emphasised that Russians, admitted to competitions on an individual basis, would be unable to perform as part of the national team and would participate only under the neutral flag.

July 4 was set as the deadline for the submission of individual applications.

The CAS in Lausanne announced on Monday that it received a filed lawsuit from the ROC against IAAF in defense of 68 national field and track athletes wishing to participate in the Games.

The hearings are due July 19, the verdict will be announced no later than July 21.

–IANS

pur/vt

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