IAAF takes first step to ban Russia from 2016 Rio Olympics

The IAAF voted Friday to provisionally suspend the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) in light of a massive WADA report earlier in the week that “confirmed the existence of widespread cheating through the use of doping substances and methods to ensure, or enhance the likelihood of, victory for athletes and teams.”

The IAAF announced the decision in a press release on its website.

If the suspension is upheld, Russia will be banned from the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

According to the release, 24 IAAF Members of Council took part in the vote: 22 voted in favour of suspending Russia, 1 voted against, and the Russian Member of Council abstained.

From the IAAF’s president Sebastian Cole:

Today we have been dealing with the failure of ARAF and made the decision to provisionally suspend them, the toughest sanction we can apply at this time. But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world.

This has been a shameful wake up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated. To this end, the IAAF, WADA, the member federations and athletes need to look closely at ourselves, our cultures and our processes to identify where failures exist and be tough in our determination to fix them and rebuild trust in our sport. There can be no more important focus for our sport

The IAAF listed three main punishments as a result of the suspension, one of which is a ban from the upcoming Rio Olympics. However, because the suspension is only provisional and the Russians will appeal the ruling, it’s still possible that Russian athletes will compete in Rio next summer.

According to the IAAF, to regain membership, “the new federation would have to fulfil a list of criteria [including] an inspection team led by Independent Chair Rune Andersen, an independent international anti-doping expert (Norwegian) and three members of the IAAF Council who will be appointed in the next few days.”

Here are the three main suspensions:

  1. Athletes, and athlete support personnel from Russia may not compete in International Competitions including World Athletics Series competitions and the Olympic Games.
  2. Russia will not be entitled to host the 2016 World Race Walking Team Championships (Cheboksary) and 2016 World Junior Championships (Kazan)*.
  3. That ARAF delegates the conduct of all outstanding doping cases to CAS.

You can read the full press release here.

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