The Latest: Putin hopes for ‘solution’ for Russian athletes – USA TODAY
VIENNA (AP) â The Latest on the IAAF’s meeting on Russia (all times local):
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he hopes for “some solution” after the IAAF announced a decision to uphold a ban on competition for Russian track and field athletes.
Putin, speaking to a meeting of leaders of major international news agencies, says “clean athletes shouldn’t suffer.”
Putin adds, however, that Russia does not accept “collective punishment” for all athletes, comparing the ban for the entire team to a prison sentence that “an entire family” could get if one of its relatives has committed a crime.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned as unfair Friday’s decision by the IAAF to uphold a ban on competition for Russian track and field athletes.
Speaking to foreign media at a late evening round-table on Friday, Putin said the IAAF meted out “collective” punishment that has hurt clean athletes.
In an unprecedented ruling loaded with geopolitical ramifications, the IAAF on Friday upheld its ban on Russia’s track and field federation, saying the country had made some progress in cleaning up but failed to meet the requirements for reinstatement and would be barred from sending its athletes to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro that begin in 50 days.
The World Anti-Doping Agency released a statement saying it fully supports the IAAF’s decision regarding the Russian track team.
WADA President Craig Reedie said the agency is anticipating results from its independent investigation into Russian doping that looks beyond track and field.
Preliminary findings were issued to IAAF and Reedie said those findings made clear “there is serious need for culture change in Russia within government and among sports leaders, athletes and athlete support personnel.”
A World Anti-Doping Agency investigator says he has evidence that the Russian state helped cover up doping cases around the 2013 world track championships in Moscow.
Richard McLaren says Russia’s Sports Ministry told the WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow “to not report positive sample results over the period before, during and after” the 2013 worlds.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, a member of FIFA’s ruling council, has repeatedly denied allegations of a state-sponsored doping program.
McLaren, a Canadian law professor, says he shared “credible and verifiable” evidence from his ongoing investigation with an IAAF task force.
Earlier Friday, the IAAF decided to maintain its ban on Russian athletes competing internationally, including the Olympics.
WADA appointed McLaren last month to try to verify allegations by former Moscow lab director Grigory Rodchenkov.
McLaren says he intends to release his “findings in mid-July.”
The Russian track and field federation is considering an appeal against the IAAF’s decision to uphold its ban from international competitions, including the Olympics.
Asked if an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports was possible, general secretary Mikhail Butov tells The Associated Press that the federation needs time to consider Friday’s ruling, but “of course we will use all opportunities to protect the athletes.”
Butov also says he doesn’t “see a possibility legally” for individual Russians to be allowed to compete as neutral athletes under an IAAF proposal aimed at whistleblowers and those who have been living and training outside Russia.
Asked which Russians could qualify, Butov says “pretty much our whole team has training camps in Portugal – do they count or not?”
The American member of the IAAF Council says she has no compassion for Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, who is threatening legal action to compete in the Olympics.
Stephanie Hightower tells The Associated Press that Isinbayeva is “condoning the corrupt system over there.”
Hightower says “I’m calling into question, is she part of the system, too? It’s very troubling that someone of her caliber would question a system that basically every other Olympic athlete is subject to, and that she’s talking about human-rights issues. She should be talking to her government. Her government has failed athletes. We have not.”
In a statement released Friday, the world-record holder said “there are huge concerns over IAAF itself and its stance on defending the rights of clean athletes.”
She wants more leniency for clean Russian athletes and called the Russian ban “a violation of human rights.”
The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency applauded Friday’s decision from the IAAF.
Travis Tygart calls the banning of the Russian track team “the right outcome” and a sign that the world’s athletes demanding clean competition are being heard.
He says he thought long and hard about the pleas of Russian athletes who claim they are clean but could lose out on their chance to compete in Rio de Janeiro.
Tygart says “at the end of the day … you hope they use this opportunity to stand up against the people in their country who’ve caused them this harm, and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
There was no immediate IAAF decision on German amputee long jumper Markus Rehm’s bid to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe says Rehm still has to prove that his prosthetic doesn’t give him an unfair advantage. Rehm is a Paralympic champion and wants to compete in the regular program at the Rio Games.
Rehm commissioned a study last month and it was inconclusive. Rehm is a right-leg amputee.
Coe says “Rehm still has to prove that the prosthetic doesn’t give him an unfair advantage and he has not been able to show that.”
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says it is “absurd” for the IAAF to allow individual Russians to compete as neutral athletes while the country’s track and field team remains suspended.
The IAAF upheld Russia’s ban from international track and field, imposed in November because of widespread doping. But Rune Andersen, the head of the IAAF’s Russia task force, said there was a “very tiny crack in the door” for Russians to compete if they had been subject to a reliable drug-testing regime outside Russia.
Mutko says the plan is “somewhat absurd” in comments to Russian agency R-Sport. He also claimed that all Russian athletes should be eligible for that special dispensation because foreign anti-doping organizations have overseen drug testing in the country in recent months.
That, Mukto says, put Russians “outside the system” of tainted Russian organizations.
The president of European Athletics says he fully supports the IAAF’s decision to uphold Russia’s ban from international track and field, including the Olympics.
Svein Arne Hansen, who also sits on the IAAF Council, says in a statement that he believes Russia has made some progress toward reforms after it was banned in November, but “more needs to be done before athletes and the public around the world can have 100 percent confidence” that Russians are subject to the same rigorous checks as athletes from other countries.
Hansen says the IAAF vote was “taken in an atmosphere of extreme pressure” and “is the clearest possible signal of the IAAF’s commitment to the values of our sport.”
He also says Russian athletes will be barred from next month’s European championships.
U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun applauded the IAAF decision to ban the Russian track and field team from Rio de Janeiro Games.
Blackmun says “today’s ruling is a step in the right direction. It gives a measure of hope to clean athletes that there are consequences not only for athletes who dope, but for countries which do not engage seriously in the fight against doping. That is a much-needed message.”
The IOC says it has “taken note” of the IAAF decision to uphold its ban on Russian athletes for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee says its executive board will meet by teleconference on Saturday to “discuss the next appropriate steps.”
The IOC has already scheduled a summit of sports leaders next Tuesday to address “the difficult decision between collective responsibility and individual justice.”
IAAF President Sebastian Coe stressed Friday that his federation has the final say on eligibility of track and field athletes for the games, not the IOC.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva says the IAAF decision to uphold the country’s doping ban will make the Olympics similar to those in 1980 and 1984, when there were mass boycotts.
Isinbayeva, who won Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008, says in a statement that “a lot of (IAAF officials) were in similar situations in 1980 and 1984 when the United States and the USSR boycotted the Olympic Games.”
She says “now I am in this situation.”
The United States and other western countries boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest at Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union and many of its allies refused to compete at the Olympics in Los Angeles four years later.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe won gold in the 1,500 meters at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, competing under the Olympic flag in 1980 because Britain was officially part of the boycott.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe says today was bound to be a sad day no matter what decision the IAAF made.
He also says IAAF leaders can’t worry about how many athletes compete in the Olympics, only how many clean athletes line up.
Coe says “there’s a humanity here that tells you, very simply, that this was not an easy decision or lightly taken.”
IAAF President Sebastian Coe says his federation, not the International Olympic Committee, decides who competes in the Olympic track meet.
Rune Andersen, the head of the IAAF task force, spoke about the difficulty of picking out who really is a “clean” athlete in Russia.
“Because the system in Russia has been tainted by doping from the top level down, we cannot trust that what we call ‘clean’ athletes really are clean,” Andersen said.
He says the IAAF has left a “very tiny crack in the door” for a Russian athlete to compete at the Olympics as an independent. But they would have to prove they were subject to a reliable drug-testing regime run outside of Russia.
The chairs of the IOC Athlete Commission and the WADA Athlete Committee have released a joint statement about the IAAF’s decision on Russia, saying they “commend and support” the move.
IOC athlete chair Claudia Bokel and WADA athlete chair Beckie Scott say they will “hold this decision as symbolic that the voices of the clean athletes have been heard.”
“We recognize that this decision is only one step in the process of ensuring that the Rio Olympic Games will have a level playing field,” Bokel and Scott said. “But, we are heartened to see that the facts as presented by WADA and the IAAF task force have been considered thoroughly, and that the evidence has lead the IAAF to make decisions based on integrity â maintaining clean sport as a central policy.”
They added that they speak for athletes globally who want to ensure that the Olympics remain a place where politics does not trump principle.
The task force in charge of overseeing anti-doping reforms in Russia has recommended that whistleblower Yulia Stepanova be allowed to compete at the Olympics as an independent athlete.
Along with her husband, Stepanova gave information that led to a broad investigation of doping inside Russia.
The 800-meter runner has asked to be able to compete at the Olympics and the IAAF task force recommended she be allowed to because of the “extraordinary contribution” she made to the anti-doping effort.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva says she will sue after the IAAF upheld the country’s ban from international track and field competition.
Isinbayeva tells Russia’s Tass agency the decision is “a breach of human rights,” adding that she will follow through on an earlier plan to take the case to “a court of human rights.”
It was not immediately clear which court she meant.
If Russia is barred from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the 34-year-old Isinbayeva says of the Russian national track and field championships, which start Monday, that “this competition could be the final one in my career.”
Isinbayeva won Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008, and bronze in 2012.
The chairman of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee has sought to portray Russia’s ban from Olympic track and field as political.
Alexei Pushkov, who is known for his strident takes on hot-button political issues, says on Twitter that “the Rio Games ban for our track and field team is an act of political revenge against Russia for its independent foreign policy.”
He says it is “a triumph of anger over sports.”
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says the IAAF decision to uphold the country’s ban from track and field was “expected.”
The ruling means the Russians will likely need special dispensation from the International Olympic Committee for its track and field athletes to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Games.
Earlier Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he rejected the idea of “collective responsibility” in doping cases and said the Russian state had never supported doping by any athletes.
The Russian Sports Ministry says it is “extremely disappointed” that the IAAF has ruled to uphold its ban on the country’s track and field athletes competing in international competitions, including the Olympics.
The ministry says Russia had done “everything possible” to be readmitted following its ban in November.
The ministry adds “we now appeal to the members of the International Olympic Committee to not only consider the impact that our athletes’ exclusion will have on their dreams and the people of Russia, but also that the Olympics themselves will be diminished by their absence.”
The IOC meets Tuesday and could overrule the IAAF ban by allowing members of the Russian team to compete.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says clean athletes should not be punished because others have been caught doping.
Putin was speaking before track and field’s world governing body decides on whether to allow Russia to compete in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Putin says “there cannot be collective responsibility for all athletes or athletes of one federation if someone has been caught doping.”
The IAAF will decide Friday in Vienna whether to uphold or lift the suspension of Russia’s track and field federation.
President Vladimir Putin says the Russian government has never been and “cannot be” involved in organizing doping.
A German documentary aired this month suggested that Russian officials, including the sports minister, were involved in concealing positive doping tests of Russian athletes.
Putin flatly denied the accusation on Friday, saying the government “cannot be involved.”
A German official who helped investigate doping in Russia has been appointed as the World Anti-Doping Agency’s director of intelligence and investigations.
Gunter Younger has been serving as head of the cybercrime division in Bavaria. WADA says he will start his new role in Montreal on Oct. 3.
Younger was a member of the independent WADA commission that uncovered widespread doping in Russian track and field. The panel’s report led to Russia’s suspension by the IAAF.
Incoming WADA director general Olivier Niggli says Younger’s “rich pedigree in the world of law enforcement will bring tremendous value to clean sport and, as a result, clean athletes worldwide.”
Younger also had previous roles with Europol and Interpol.
A British lawmaker says IAAF President Sebastian Coe is facing “very, very disturbing” allegations about his knowledge of Russia’s doping problems.
Jesse Norman, who chairs the Culture, Media and Sport select committee in Britain’s House of Commons, says Coe must answer further questions.
“I’d say it’s almost certain we’ll want to have Lord Coe back in front of the committee. I don’t want to get too far ahead of where the committee is going to be, but these are very serious matters,” Norman told the BBC.
The BBC’s Panorama program and the Daily Mail reported allegations Friday that Coe was aware of details of a Russian doping corruption case four months before it became public, and that he enlisted support for his presidential campaign from Papa Massata Diack, son of disgraced former IAAF President Lamine Diack.
Coe, who was a vice president of the IAAF at the time, denied any wrongdoing. He said the email was forwarded to the ethics commission and that he did not mislead the select committee when he appeared in December.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says Russia is committed to eradicating doping and punishing those who are responsible.
Dmitry Peskov spoke Friday as the IAAF was to decide whether to allow Russian athletes to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The IAAF’s ruling council convened in Vienna to consider whether to uphold or lift the suspension of Russia’s track and field federation.
Asked by reporters if Russia is preparing a legal response to the potential ban, Peskov says “we are doing everything we can in order to protect our athletes and will continue to do so.”
Asked if Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko could be fired if the country’s athletes are barred from the Olympics, Peskov says “it’s not expedient to link this with the sports minister.”
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has written an open letter aimed at persuading the IAAF to allow his country’s track and field athletes to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The IAAF will decide later Friday whether to readmit Russia, which was suspended in November following a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report detailing systematic, state-sponsored doping.
Mutko writes that Russia has reformed its anti-doping system and that a ban from Rio for the entire track team would be unfair collective punishment for a problem which also exists in other countries.
He adds that “Russia has done everything that IAAF independent commission has rightly asked of us in order to be reinstated to athletic competition.”
Mutko does not address a new report Wednesday from WADA which said drug testers faced continued obstruction in Russia.
Track and field’s world governing body is meeting to decide whether to allow Russian track and field athletes to compete in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The IAAF’s ruling council convened in Vienna on Friday to consider whether to uphold or lift the suspension of Russia’s track and field federation.
The ban was imposed in November following a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission that alleged state-sponsored doping, cover-ups and corruption.
Russian officials claim they have met the conditions for reinstatement, but a new WADA report issued Wednesday cited continuing obstruction and violations of drug-testing in Russia.
Even if the IAAF decides to maintain the ban on the Russian federation, it could also consider a compromise that would allow individual athletes with a proven clean doping record to compete in the games.
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