Russia should participate in London 2017 athletics World Championships

The Daily Telegraph
Russia should participate in London 2017 athletics World Championships

On June 18th the IOC supported the decision of the IAAF to uphold the suspension of  the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF), to uphold the Russian Athletics Federation from the competition at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The IAAF unanimously decided to uphold the suspension of the ARAF. The IAAF President Sebastian Coe explained such a verdict by the fact that the Russian organization has not complied with the necessary requirements for the restoration of the rights. Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, said that based on the statements of the IOC, the Russian athletes have no chance to participate in the upcoming games. However, he stressed that Russia will still "fight to the end." Today on June 21st the Board of the International Olympic Committee decided not to uphold the other members of the Russian national team from the competition in Rio. Vestnik Kavkaza offers its readers an article by The Daily Telegraph, which expresses the British view on this issue.

The co-chairman of next year’s athletics World Championships in London has said he does not want Russia banned from the event after it emerged it could remain exiled from the sport until 2018. Ed Warner called for more to be done to help the rogue nation eradicate its drugs culture before London 2017, insisting it would be “unhealthy” for it to remain a pariah for the Olympic Stadium’s biggest event since London 2012.

On Friday, Russia’s track and field team were banned from this summer’s Olympics following the damning report of an independent task force, which found the country had failed to do enough to clean up its act since it was suspended last year for state-sponsored doping.

The report also warned the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was 18-24 months from full compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Warner told The Daily Telegraph: “This potentially runs on through the World Championships in London and beyond. That can’t happen, because it’s unhealthy for international sport not to have one of the world’s three most powerful nations absent from Games and championships.

“The Russian ban is the right way for Rio but, beyond that, the world needs to help Russia become compliant, because the quality and value of all competition is diminished if a nation of that size and sporting ambition is absent long term.”

Warner, who is also chairman of UK Athletics, added: “We only want Russia back when they have a demonstrably robust anti-doping system in place but the world needs to help them put that in place. “UK Anti-Doping providing assistance for them now is a good start but all hands to the pump, because the integrity of global competition is at its highest when everybody’s there. I want them back under the right terms.”  Warner claimed Russia might even have had its ban lifted for Rio 2016 had the International Olympic Committee taken a tougher line when the country was first suspended.

“The thing which has disappointed me in recent months has been this unseemly haste with which the IOC has wanted to usher Russia back in under whatever circumstances it can,” he said. “The best way for this to have been handled all along by the IOC would have been for them to be completely robust because that might have provided the shock for the Russian authorities to get a move on.

“Had they really pulled their finger out back in November, we might not be in the position we’re in now, where there’s been far too much bluster, denial and finger-pointing from Moscow and, as a consequence, lots of wasted time.”Russia has vowed to fight the ban imposed on it by the International Association of Athletics Federations by appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But it could get worse for the country on Tuesday when the IOC meets to discuss extending sanctions beyond Russian athletics.

Warner questioned whether Russian president Vladimir Putin would pre-empt that by withdrawing the nation from the Games in protest.“Could Putin pull the entire Russia team?” he said. “I think that’s unlikely but we shouldn’t rule anything out because I think it’s naive to try to view all these things through the lens of western European eyes.”