“We will set the terms.” Suspension of Russian athletes can be revoked World Council of Athletics decides to withdraw membership of All-Russian Athletics Federation 23.03.2023, 21:39

The Council of the World Athletic Union (World Athletics) announced the restoration of membership in the All-Russian Athletic Federation.

ARAF was stripped of its status in 2015 due to numerous anti-doping rule violations and the investigation of German journalist Hajo Seppelt and statements by the Stepanov spouses.

It was the first domestic sports federation to lose its right to compete internationally, and despite all attempts to comeback since then, the VFLA has been suspended.

But now World Athletics head Sebastian Coe has announced that the ARAF has returned to its status as a full-fledged member of the international association.

“The work we spent many years returning to the World Athletic Association has been completed. The complex, painstaking work done to restore our status was positively appreciated. ARAF staff and members of the Presidium, our athletes, our trainers, our regional federations and everyone who cares about the fate of Russian athletics participated in the work. The work was attended by the World Working Group on Athletics, international experts, the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation, the Russian Olympic Committee and RUSADA – quoting Petr Ivanov, head of the organization of the ARAF press service.

— We will continue to follow a strict anti-doping policy to comply with all international requirements. The sports and anti-doping component of the federation’s work complies with international requirements that are now enshrined in WA Council resolutions.”

True, this is only part of the story, because despite the positive news, Russian athletes will still be excluded from international competitions. This is due to sanctions due to a special military operation in Ukraine.

“Over the next few weeks, we will formulate the conditions under which the deportation of Russia and Belarus can be lifted,” Coe said.

– The Council approved the creation of a working group to determine the conditions that must be met to lift restrictions on athletes and officials of the Russian and Belarusian national federations. It will be created in the next few weeks.”

“World Athletics’ decision shows our appreciation for our systematic and efficient work together with the All-Russian Athletic Federation. TASS, quoting Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin, said that all penalty orders of World Athletics were fully complied with.

“This is a vivid expression of an effective system for combating doping in sport, repeatedly stated on the site of the UNESCO convention.”

Margarita Pakhnotskaya, former Deputy Director General of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), also evaluated the news positively.

I congratulate and thank everyone who contributed to the recovery process of the ARAF and to the change of anti-doping culture in Russian athletics and Russian sport. How difficult was the road to recovery? It was different, but probably another one could not be expected, ”said Pakhnotskaya.

“When there are processes of change, there are always some difficulties, but their existence does not mean that the desired result cannot be achieved, it just takes more time to overcome.”

The suspension of the VFLA brought many problems to the leading Russian athletes. The stars of domestic athletics not only had to play under a neutral flag all this time, but also missed the leading international starts. Therefore, only long jumper Daria Klishina was allowed to participate in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, while stars such as Sergey Shubenkov, Maria Lasitskene and Anzhelika Sidorova and others missed the main starts in their golden age.

World Athletics announced the restoration of the All-Russian Athletic Federation, which was deprived of eligibility status in 2015. Now, a working group will be formed to improve the conditions for the return of domestic athletes to international competitions in the near future.

Source: Gazeta


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