IAAF Suspends Russia
Banned from 2016 Olympics
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) provisionally suspended the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) on Friday, according to an IAAF press release. The decision, brought about by a 22-to-1 vote in favor of suspension by its council, will exclude the country’s track and field athletes from participating in international competitions, including the 2016 Olympics. The vote follows the release of a World Anti-Doping Agency–funded report on November 11 that announced a state-sponsored doping program.
“This has been a shameful wake-up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated,” said IAAF president Sebastian Coe in the release. “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.”
On Monday, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told the Tass news agency that the decision was unjustly based on political motives. “[The West] cannot understand how we began winning again,” Mutko said. “It seemed that those Russians lost their leading positions, dropped to the second division and then, all of a sudden—bang!—they are back with the leaders. It is quite obvious that not everyone likes it.”
As a consequence of the suspension, the 2016 World Race Walking Cup and 2016 World Junior Championships, both scheduled to take place in Russia, will be relocated, according to the release.