The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has provisionally suspended Russia from competing in track and field events at next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics and other international competitions.
The decision was made in a 22-1 member vote following the release of a scathing World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report earlier this week that unearthed the extent of a state-sponsored doping program in Russian sport.
“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,” IAAF president Seabastien Coe said in a statement. “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 suspension also means Russia will not be able to host the 2016 World Race Walking Team Championships in Cheboksary and the 2016 World Junior Championships in Kazan.
WADA’s report has recommended that five Russian athletes and five coaches be banned from the sport for life, in addition to making serious major reforms in Russia’s sport system and anti-doping policies.
In a rare move, Russia has admitted to some wrongdoing and ruled out an Olympic boycott with its allies as it did during the Soviet era for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games, The Associated Press reports.
The damning allegations highlighted in the WADA report, led by Canadian International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound, include:
Interpol is slated to initiate a investigation into the criminal nature of the doping allegations based on WADA’s findings.
Russia claimed 18 medals in the athletics events at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, including eight gold medals, five silver medals, and five bronze medals. The report asserts the London Games were “sabotaged by the admission of [Russian] athletes who should not have been competing, and could have been prevented from competing.”