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IAAF Maintains Ban on Russian Athletics Over Doping Scandal

Dmitry Serebryakov / TASS

World athletics governing body IAAF has decided not to lift a ban on Russia's athletics federation over doping, saying on Monday it was still waiting to receive data collected from Moscow and financial compensation for its investigations.

Russia's athletics federation (RUSAF) has been suspended since 2015 following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that found evidence of widespread doping in the sport.

The IAAF's governing council discussed the possibility of lifting the ban at a meeting in Doha, Qatar on Sunday and Monday.

But Rune Andersen, chair of the IAAF's Russia Taskforce, said Moscow had yet to meet two conditions.

"Logistical" issues had held up financial compensation, including for the taskforce's costs and legal costs in cases Russia had brought to the courts, he said, adding that the IAAF had also not yet received analytical data and samples from a Moscow lab, which are still being assessed by WADA.

"Those (issues) need to be resolved. As soon as we have everything we need... we will seriously reconsider and recommend to the IAAF council for reinstatement (of Russia)," Andersen said.

Russian authorities have denied their doping program was state-sponsored but have accepted that senior officials were involved in providing banned substances to athletes, interfering with anti-doping procedures or covering up positive tests.

The IAAF also said the Taskforce had noted comments made to German television network ARD over the weekend that some coaches, with links to the doping affair, were involved again with coaching Russian national team athletes.

"This runs counter to assurances the Taskforce has previously received from RUSAF that it is disassociating itself from the old regime," the IAAF said.

"The Taskforce will be asking RUSAF for urgent clarification."

Russia's reinstatement has been rejected several times by the IAAF over the past three years. The athletics body is the only other major sports organization to keep Russia banned for at least the coming months.

Both WADA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have revoked their suspensions of Russia while the International Paralympic Committee has said it will reinstate Russia by March 15.

"Of course, we have worked and are working to finding sources of funding to pay the debt," Dmitry Shlyakhtin, president of Russia’s athletics federation, said in a statement.

"This is quite an ample sum for the federation. Let’s not forget that the federation lost sponsors in connection with the doping scandal. You cannot call the federation's financial situation simple. In parallel we are in talks with the IAAF regarding payments."

Russia's sports ministry did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Should it fail to meet IAAF conditions in the coming months, Russia could risk missing out on sending a team to September's world athletics championships in Doha.

Some individual Russian athletes have been allowed to compete internationally as neutrals since 2015 provided they met certain criteria that showed they had operated in a dope-free environment.

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