Russian athletes likely to discover Olympic fate in May

A decision on whether Russian athletes will be able to participate in the Rio Olympics is likely to be announced in May, IAAF president Sebastian Coe has suggested.

Russia’s athletics federation was suspended by the IAAF last November, following allegations of state-sponsored doping made in a report from an independent commission established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Speaking at the end of a two-day meeting in Monaco, Coe said the IAAF Council agreed unanimously that “RUSAF [the Russian federation] should not be reinstated to membership of the IAAF at this stage”.

Looking ahead to the IAAF Council’s next meeting in May, Coe added: “I think you should conclude that these decisions [on whether to lift the ban] will be taken at that point.”

Rune Andersen, the independent chairperson of the taskforce overseeing Russia’s reforms, said “significant progress” had been made following November’s sanctions.

However, Andersen said: “The view of the taskforce is that there is significant work still to be done [by Russia] to satisfy reinstatement conditions.”

Meanwhile, five countries – Ethiopia, Morocco, Belarus, Kenya and Ukraine – have been placed in “critical care” by the IAAF regarding their anti-doping programmes.

A statement from world athletics’ governing body read: “Morocco and Ethiopia both need to appoint an anti-doping coordinator and, as a matter of urgency, establish a national testing programme.

“Belarus, Kenya and Ukraine have been put on an IAAF monitoring list for 2016 to ensure their national anti-doping programmes are significantly strengthened to ensure their journey to compliance to Rule 30.6 is completed by the end of the year.”

Coe stated: “The IAAF is taking control of the fight against doping facing the sport, discussing the issues openly and working with the affected countries to resolve them.

“No sanctions have been imposed but clear recommendations have been made to those five countries so they understand clearly the actions they must take.”

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