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Athletics: Russia ban to run into 2017

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MONACO: Russia’s athletics ban will run into 2017 and may include the August world championships after a Task Force monitoring the nation’s anti-doping programme refused on Thursday to put any dates on a “road map” for a return.

Rune Andersen, the Norwegian heading the independent Task Force, reported to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council that there had been areas of progress but many issues still needed clarifying in the new year.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said the Council felt “comforted” the changes had come about as a result of the decision to ban the Russians but recognised that athletics still had work to do to regain the trust of the public.

“This is a pretty important week in the history of our sport,” said Coe who will present a series of radical governance reforms to a special Congress meeting on Saturday.

“I do not want this sport to return to the grotesque stories that even over the last few days we’ve been waking up to,” he added, in reference to recent allegations of more corruption in the organisation under its previous leadership.

The Russian Federation (RUSAF) was banned in November 2015 after an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) probe exposed state-sponsored doping on a massive scale.

The suspension was upheld earlier this year, ruling almost all Russian track and field athletes out of the Rio Olympics.

On Thursday, Andersen indicated there was a chink of light for the country, one of the super-powers of athletics.

“RUSAF has made further progress since June including anti-doping education modules and securing the co-operation of the Russian criminal authorities and parliament in criminalising the supply of doping products,” he told a news conference.

“But one of the key remaining issues is how to demonstrate the IAAF and RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping) will be able to carry out testing without interference which is a key part of their reinstatement.

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