The IAAF voted 22-1 in favor of provisionally suspending Russia from international track and field competition effective immediately, just days after a bombshell report by WADA uncovering a systematic doping program among Russian athletes.
“Today we have been dealing with the failure of (the All-Russian Athletic Federation) 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,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said in a statement.
“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 suspension means that, at least currently, Russian athletes are not allowed to participate in international competitions, including the World Indoor Championships in March and the 2016 Rio Olympics about nine months from now. However, Russia could regain membership to the IAAF by fulfilling “a list of criteria” subject to IAAF inspection.
“Council examined this matter very thoughtfully, fully aware of the extraordinary action we ultimately decided to take,” Stephanie Hightower, USATF president and IAAF council member, said in a statement. “The WADA report was clear in its evidence and unequivocal in its recommendations. From Council’s perspective, in light of the evidence, suspension was the only proper course of action.”
WADA presented its findings from their independent investigation on Monday. It recommended that Russia be suspended from global athletics competition—including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio—and recommended lifetime bans for five Russian athletes—including 2012 Olympic 800m champion Mariya Savinova, 2012 Olympic 800m bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova, 400m/800m runner Anastasia Bazdyreva and 1500m runner Kristina Ugarova—along with five coaches and administrators.