Photo: Maryia Savinova – World and Olympic 800m champion (Getty Images)
The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) on Friday, announced that the Russian Athletics Federation has been provisionally suspended from international track and field events.
The governing body, led by the new federation president, Lorde Sebastian Coe, met via teleconference today and voted on the suspension by a unanimous 22-1 margin.
Russia Council member Mikhail Butov, was allowed to state the case against a ban, but not to vote. He was quoted just before the decision as saying that all Russian athletes s should not be punished for the sins of a few.
“We hope that the decision will be reasonable, not of anti-Russian nature,” he said
He also pleaded that innocent athletes must be protected, noting that banned drugs gets into the body of an athlete only with one’s permission. “It is exclusively an independent choice of an athlete.”
Russia currently entangled in an alleged doping fiasco, involving athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and officials from past IAAF Administrations. Early recommendations came from a comprehensive WADA investigation that suggested the country should be suspended.
The ban which will keep Russian athletes out of all sanctioned international track and field events worldwide and possibly disrupt preparations for next summer’s Rio Olympics, will remain in place while the case is considered more fully.
The IAAF President in describing the state of the sport he heads and the surrounding incident to BBC Sports today was quoted as saying “This is a wake-up call for all of us. Tonight our sport finds itself in a shameful situation.
“I am wholly focused on the changes that need to be made. I have openly conceded that we need to learn some very tough lessons. We need to look at ourselves, within our sport, and we will do that.”
The Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko in a response to the announcement via The Associated Press has slammed Russia’s suspension from track and field as “very strange,” saying the IAAF should have focused on its own legal problems instead.
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