Hope IAAF will reinstate membership before 2018: Russia Minister

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Novogorsk (Russia), July 26 (IANS) Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov has said he hoped that the membership of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) will be reinstated with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) by next year.

‘We are expecting a visit of WADA’s (World Anti-Doping Agency) monitoring commission in September and this organisation’s Council will be later debating on the key issue, which would influence ARAF’s compliance and membership reinstatement with the IAAF,’ Kolobkov was quoted as saying by Tass news agency.

‘I hope that by the start of 2018 the ARAF will be granted such rights and our athletes will be able to compete in the (international) competitions under the national flag by the yearend. (ARAF President) Dmitry Shlyakhtin said that the road map has been almost implemented,’ he said on Tuesday.

Nineteen Russian athletes have been cleared to take part in the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, scheduled for August 4-13.

However, they will perform as neutral athletes as the ARAF remains suspended. Russian track-and-field athletes are banned from wearing gear of the national team or wear any apparel symbolising the Russian flag at competitions.

In 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission carried out an investigation into the activities of the ARAF, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian Sports Ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

Eventually, the IAAF decided to suspend ARAF’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a host of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement in order to restore its membership in the global federation.

In mid-June 2016, the IAAF Council ruled it was still too early to restore ARAF’s membership in the international organisation subsequently extending the suspension of Russian athletes from all international tournaments, including the 2016 Olympic Games in August.

–IANS

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