World Athletics freeze two Russia panels over unpaid fine

World Athletics has announced that it will stand down both the Doping Review Board (DRB) and the Russian Taskforce as it has not received the payments due from the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), nor any information on when the money may be paid, despite reminders and correspondence with the federation, the deadline of which was July 1.

“…World Athletics will stand down both the Doping Review Board (DRB) and the Russian Taskforce until World Athletics’ council has reviewed and discussed the situation at their meeting on July 29-30, as set out in the decision made by the council on March 12,” World Athletics said in a statement.

The payments due from RusAF by 1 July are $5 million (fine) and $1.31 million (reinstatement conditions & verification criteria costs incurred from June 30, 2019 to March 31, 2020, including legal & CAS costs; task force costs; doping review board costs, and lysenko investigation costs).

“Both the Russian Taskforce and the DRB have, in good faith, moved forward in a number of areas such as the process to recruit two independent experts to work alongside RusAF and its Reinstatement Commission on a detailed reinstatement plan.

“The DRB has also opened up the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) process to facilitate the granting of ANA status for athletes returning to competition, in preparation for the fine being paid by July 1. Both of these processes will be put on hold until the council meets at the end of July to ensure World Athletics is not incurring additional costs that may not be reimbursed,” it added.

World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe, said: “We recognise these are difficult times, but we are very disappointed by the lack of progress made by RusAF in terms of the requirements set in March.”

“The serious allegations of breaching the anti-doping rules resulted in a new RusAF administration and we had assurances and hoped that change was on its way. However, the experience of the Russian Taskforce, chaired by Rune Andersen, is that this has fallen well short of expectations. RusAF is letting its athletes down badly.

“We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail. The terms of payment of the fine and costs were clear and unchallenged by RusAF at the time so this issue will now need to return to Council at the end of July, as we stated in March,” he added.