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Athletics doping watchdog recommends excluding Russia from global federation

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Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Stanislav Pozdnyakov holds a press conference in Moscow following meetings with the Russian anti-doping agency to discuss Russia’s doping ban from major sport competitions. AFP

AFP – The Athletics Integrity Unit has recommended that World Athletics expel Russia from the global federation, the doping watchdog announced on Wednesday.

In a statement, the AIU said that it had made recommendations “to consider imposing the severest possible consequences”, including “considering the expulsion of RusAF (the Russian athletics federation) from the membership of World Athletics”.

The AIU — an independent anti-doping body founded by World Atletics’ predecessor the IAAF — suggested the ban after it reviewed alleged breaches of World Athletics’ anti-doping rules by RusAF.

These included “forged documents and false explanations” relating to high-jumper Danil Lysenko’s failure to provide information regarding his whereabouts as required by anti-doping rules.

Later on Wednesday World Athletics released a statement stating that the AIU’s charges were “extremely serious”, saying that they will review the files submitted to them “over the next couple of days”.

The AIU’s announcement comes after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided last month to ban Russia for four years from major global sporting events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, over manipulated doping data.

Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA quickly announced that it would appeal the ban, as President Vladimir Putin claimed the ban was “politically motivated”.

However, sources told AFP earlier this month that a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is not expected before May, just weeks before the Olympic Games open in Tokyo on July 24.

The doping scandal has brought fierce criticism of RusAF from several prominent athletes, including the country’s three-time high-jump world champion Mariya Lasitskene.

Lasitskene has been a vocal critic of the Russian sporting authorities, and has already warned she would quit Russia and train elsewhere so as not to miss the Tokyo Olympics.

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