Russian sports minister to attend IAAF Taskforce meet on membership reinstatement

Moscow, Jan 21 (IANS) Russia Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and a representative of the country’s investigative committee will be attending a meeting of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Taskforce on the possible reinstatement of Russia in the global track and field body, a senior athletics official has said.

The meeting of the IAAF Taskforce, chaired by Rune Andersen, will be held in Russia on January 23-24, reports Tass.

“We hope for the breakthrough decisions during this meeting,” Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), said on Friday.

“The meeting will be attended by a representative of the Russian Investigative Committee, the Russian Sports Minister (Pavel Kolobkov) and the commission will be holding a meeting in an extended format of four members.”

“All of the mentioned above facts inspire us with hope that we will be all witnesses of a normal and constructive dialogue,” Shlyakhtin said.

“We all know well that the IAAF Council is gathering for its session in early February and the (Taskforce) commission will be delivering its report at this session,” the ARAF president added.

In 2015, the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Independent Commission carried out an investigation in regard to the activities of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry.

The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

Eventually, the IAAF decided to suspend ARAF’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward a host of criteria, which the Russian ruling body of track and field sports was obliged to implement to restore its membership in the global federation.

In mid-June of 2016, the IAAF Council ruled it was still too early to restore Russian Athletics Federation membership in the international organisation, subsequently extending the suspension of Russian athletes from all international tournaments, including the 2016 Olympic Games in August.

Later, the IAAF anti-doping agency turned down Russian field and track athletes’ individual applications, except the one filed by three-time European champion Daria Klishina.