UK Athletics head Ed Warner backs Russia ban

UK Athletics (UKA) chairman Ed Warner supports calls for Russia to be banned from next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.

An independent commission established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommended on Monday that the IAAF suspend the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) from competing amid allegations of systemic cheating and cover-ups.

On Tuesday, WADA announced it had withdrawn the Moscow Anti-Doping Centre’s accreditation and Warner believes IAAF president Sebastian Coe must follow through with the other suggested sanctions put forward in the report.

“I think before [the 2016 Olympics] there are two competitions in athletics which matter,” he told BBC Radio 4.

“There’s the European Cross-Country Championships, which are next month [in Hyeres, France], and then in March in America there’s the World Indoor Championships.

“Coe, who’s the president of the IAAF, says that his council is meeting on Friday or Saturday this week to consider sanctioning Russia and possibly to suspend them.

“My strong advice would be: you’ve absolutely got to do that.”

Warner is unconcerned such punishment could be of detriment to innocent athletes, insisting that a wider view must be taken to protect the sport.

“If you punish one or two innocent Russian athletes for the greater good of the sport, that’s a moral dilemma I’m prepared to grasp,” he added.