When the World Anti-Doping Agency published its damning report accusing Russia of running a state-sponsored doping program for international athletes, it asked the International Association of Athletics Federation to ban Russian track and field athletes from international competitions. Today, the IAAF went ahead and did that.
Here is IAAF president Sebastian Coe’s statement:
Today we have been dealing with the failure of ARAF and made the decision to provisionally suspend them, the toughest sanction we can apply at this time. But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world.
This has been a shameful wake up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated. To this end, the IAAF, WADA, the member federations and athletes need to look closely at ourselves, our cultures and our processes to identify where failures exist and be tough in our determination to fix them and rebuild trust in our sport. There can be no more important focus for our sport.
The IAAF only governs track and field competitions, so this suspension means that Russian track and field athletes will not be able to participate in the upcoming World Athletics Series or the 2016 Olympics in Rio.