International Olympic Committee summit confirms “respect and approval and support” for IAAF’s decision to uphold its suspension of Russia

President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, has said there is “full support for the decision” made by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to uphold its suspension of Russia.

The IAAF decision was made on Friday (June 17) when it was announced that athletes remain banned from competing for Russia in international events, though it was stated that Russians may still be able to compete at the Rio Olympic Games and other international competitions as “neutral” athletes.

However, speaking in Lausanne on Tuesday (June 21) at a press conference following an Olympic Summit, Bach stated that any Russian athletes competing at the Rio Games would do so under the Russian flag, rather than a neutral or Olympic flag.

“This decision (made by the IAAF) applies to IAAF competitions, because in the IAAF there is no national federation – the Russian national federation is suspended,” said Bach. “Therefore, the IAAF has chosen this option in order to allow the athletes to compete in their competition.

“When it comes to the Olympic Games, all athletes then are part of the team of the Russian Olympic Committee. This is a different situation,” continued Bach.

“If there are athletes qualified then they will compete as members of the team of the Russian Olympic Committee because only a national Olympic committee can enter athletes to the Olympic Games,” he added. “Contrary to the national federation of track and field, the Russian Olympic Committee is not suspended.”

The IAAF seems set to continue in its bid for a neutral team, however, and a statement released by the sport’s world governing body after the Olympic Summit read:” The IAAF Council on Friday unanimously accepted the recommendation of the IAAF taskforce to maintain the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) and to amend the competition rules to allow Russian athletes to apply for eligibility, on an exceptional basis and subject to meeting strict criteria, to compete in international competitions, including the Olympic Games, in an individual capacity as neutral athletes, not under any country’s flag.

“This decision has been unequivocally supported across sport and the IOC Summit today unanimously agreed to fully respect the IAAF decision.

“The IAAF will now work with the IOC to ensure the decision is respected and implemented in full.”

Following the Olympic Summit, the IOC released a five-point plan created “to ensure a level playing field for athletes at the Olympic Games Rio 2016”.

“The Olympic Summit discussed questions which affect the eligibility of athletes, in particular with regard to the balance between collective responsibility and individual justice,” read an IOC statement in part.

One of the actions unanimously agreed at the Olympic Summit concerned non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

“At this moment, three National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) – Kenya, Russia and Spain – are non-compliant for different reasons. The non-compliance declaration of the Spanish NADO is for administrative reasons only and does not affect the doping-control system,” read the IOC statement.

The relevant action point added: “Because of the WADA non-compliance declaration of Kenya and Russia and the related substantial allegations, the Olympic Summit considers the “presumption of innocence” of athletes from these countries being put seriously into question. As a result, every IF (International Federation) should take a decision on the eligibility of such athletes on an individual basis to ensure a level playing field in their sport.

“In this decision-making process, the absence of a positive national anti-doping test should not be considered sufficient by the IFs. This means that the respective IF should take into account other reliable adequate testing systems in addition to national anti-doping testing.

“This decision about the “level playing field” in each of their very different Olympic sports, and eligibility, including of their member National Federations, should be taken by each IF taking into account all the specific circumstances in the relevant National Federations, any available evidence, the World Anti-Doping Code and the specific rules of their sport.”

In its final action point, the IOC also agreed to request that WADA convenes an “Extraordinary World Conference on Doping” in 2017.

The full declaration of the Olympic summit can be read here.