UPDATE - World Athletics Council Announces Suspension Of Russia's Reinstatement Process

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 23rd November, 2019) The World Athletics Council has decided to suspend the process of reinstatement of membership of the Russian Athletics Federation's (RusAF) in the wake of charges recently laid against Russian sports officials, Rune Andersen, who heads the international organization's task force overseeing RusAF's reinstatement, said.

On Thursday, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent organization addressing threats to integrity in athletics, announced charges of breaching Anti-Doping Rules against several high-ranked RusAF officials, including the federation head, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, and executive director Alexander Parkin. The charges include, among other things, obstruction of investigation in the case of Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko. The athlete himself has been provisionally suspended, too.

"The task force proposed to the Council today and this was unanimously approved the following ... that council immediately suspends the RusAF reinstatement process pending the resolution of the charges [laid against RusAF officials]," Andersen told reporters after the World Athletics Council meeting in Monaco on Friday.

Andersen noted that the task force also recommended that the council mandated it, alongside the Doping Review board, which oversaw the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) status, to review the mechanism of granting this ANA status, which had been in place since June 2016. The bodies should also advise the council on where this mechanism should continue to be used and, if so, in which form.

Any ANA applications received in the interim will be held in abeyance pending the review of the mechanism, according to Andersen.

The official concluded by adding that the task force also suggested that the council mandated it "to make recommendations to the council as to the sanctions that the council should impose on RusAF if it is determined that the RusAF has breached its obligations under the anti-doping rules; and whether the congress should consider the expulsion from membership of World Athletics."

A video recording of the press conference was published on the World Athletics YouTube channel.

RusAF was suspended from the IAAF in November 2015 over allegations of anti-doping rules violations in Russian sports.

The Russian authorities have repeatedly refuted the accusations of running a doping program but acknowledged that the country's athletics had some problems with doping that were being tackled.