Russian athletes can compete as ‘neutrals’ in global events

Moscow: The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has issued a set of guidelines that will allow Russian athletes to compete in international contests as neutrals in global sporting events.

According to a statement on Tuesday, Russian athletes will be able to compete for the country only after the restoration of its IAAF membership.

“Russia remains suspended as a member of IAAF until such time as it has complied with the verification criteria set by the IAAF Council in 2015 and no athlete may compete for Russia in the interim,” the statement said.

In contrast with the testing requirements for the Summer Rio Olympics, IAAF said the Russian athletes were no longer required to undergo doping tests outside of Russia but they still had to be part of a “fully WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code-compliant drug-testing programme”.

Russian athletes included in the IAAF International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP) will satisfy this condition.

According to the statement, in 2016 IAAF added some 30 Russian athletes to the IRTP, bringing the total number of Russians tested by IAAF or other independent agencies in Russia to 50.

At the same time, the IAAF noted that being part of the IRTP or tested by independent agencies did not mean automatic authorisation to compete in 2017.

“Applications made under the guidelines will be reviewed by the DRB (the Doping Review Board) and athletes granted neutral athlete status by the DRB will be eligible to compete in international competitions as stipulated by the DRB.

“Invitations to eligible athletes to compete in one-day meetings remain at the discretion of individual meeting organisers.”.