Authorised neutral athlete process is reinstated but World Athletics imposes restriction for senior events

The World Athletics Council has reinstated the authorised neutral athlete (ANA) process for Russian athletes, but has capped at 10 the number of ANA participants allowed to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and other specified World Athletics and European Athletics senior events.

On Thursday it was also announced that the Russian athletics federation (RusAF) had been fined $10 million for breaching the sport’s anti-doping rules.

The ANA process will be suspended if $5 million of the $10m fine is not paid by July 1, 2020, the sport’s world governing body said.

“The remaining $5 million of the fine will be suspended for two years, to be paid immediately if during that period RusAF commits a further breach of the anti-doping rules or fails to make meaningful progress towards satisfying the reinstatement conditions set by Council,” World Athletics added.

“The ANA application process remains broadly the same, with strengthened criteria to be issued by the Doping Review Board.”

More on the new set of criteria required for RusAF’s reinstatement can be found here.

“The package of sanctions approved by the Council today reflects the seriousness of RusAF’s wrongdoing and sends a clear message that we take these types of offences by our Member Federations extremely seriously,” said World Athletics president Seb Coe.

“We have consistently tried to separate the clean athletes from a tainted system, which is why we have reinstated the ANA process for athletes from Russia, enabling them to once again compete in international one-day competitions and earn prize money, but we have restricted the number of athletes eligible to compete in senior international and European events, including at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Clearly the previous measures were not enough to change the culture in Russian athletics. We hope this further measure will be sufficient to provoke real change.

“The decision to suspend half of the $10 million fine for a period of two years is predicated on the cultural and behavioural change we want to see across all structures in athletics in Russia. But we need to be clear, if the initial sum of $5 million is not paid by July 1, 2020, then the entire decision made today will be revisited and could result in the ANA status being revoked indefinitely.

“The Council feels severely let down by the previous RusAF administration, which is why it has approved a new set of criteria for reinstatement of the Federation. This requires the new administration to set a clear roadmap for reinstatement, to be approved by Council, and greater oversight of the roadmap process by independent international personnel based in Russia.”

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