‘Probably December’: Coe ready for IAAF to rule on Russia return
World athletics chief Sebastian Coe said on Wednesday that a decision on whether or not Russia will have their ban from international competition lifted “will probably” be made in December.
However Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), admitted that “we will have to wait and see” if WADA, the global anti-doping body, was right to lift its three-year ban on Russia’s own anti-doping agency.
The ban was introduced in 2015 after Russia’s ministry of sport and secret service were found guilty of masterminding institutional doping.
Now, the spotlight is on Coe to allow Russia back into international track and field competition when the IAAF Council meets in Monaco on December 4.
When asked if there will be a decision on reinstatement, 62-year-old Coe told AFP: “Yes there will be”.
“There’ll be a meet in the coming weeks with the Russian Athletics Federation, as we have always done in the past, we will wait for the recommendations of the working group and the Council will deliberate according to my recommendation.
“But yes, there will probably be some decision at the Council meeting in December in Monaco.”
Coe had said following WADA’s controversial decision to lift the ban that Russia needed to meet two pre-conditions to be allowed to return to international athletics competition.
Firstly, Russian authorities must acknowledge the findings of reports that sports ministry officials were implicated in the scheme to cover up the doping of Russian athletes.
And secondly Russian authorities must provide access to the data from testing of samples at the Moscow laboratory from 2011-2015, so that the Athletics Integrity Unit can determine whether the suspicious findings reported in the Moscow lab’s database should be pursued.
Coe said time will tell if WADA -- who were accused of betraying clean athletes by their decision to lift their Russia ban -- were right.
“We’ll have to see. It is very important that athletes can get answers to a very important question and that it is simple: do you trust the system?” said Coe.
“The athletes ask that question, so the IAAF, WADA, the International Olympic Committee -- all those organisations have to give evidence to the clean athletes that the system is a clean system.
“The philosophy of the IAAF was very clear. It was to try to separate the clean athletes from a contaminated system, and that is why we have a neutral status for Russian athletes.
“But, of course, it has to be our ambition to have Russian athletes again representing their country. That has to be the final goal.”