Accessibility links

European Athletics Chief Doubts Russia Will Compete In Rio Olympics

European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen said he doubts Russia will return to international competition in time for next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Russian athletes were banned indefinitely by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the World Anti-Doping Agency found widespread, state-sponsored doping in the sports superpower.

"For the moment they have to fulfil the conditions, but I cannot really see them competing in Rio," Hansen, whose organization includes Russia, told Athletics Weekly magazine December 29.

"They must have a cultural change. They must get rid of all those people from before."

Hansen added, "We know some good people in Russian athletics and I'm sure they will be elected. We hope that some new people will come in who really understand that this must be changed."

IAAF inspectors will visit Russia in January to detemine whether it is making progress in eliminating doping abuses.

European Athletics works with the IAAF on doping issues, but it will have no influence on any decision to reinstate Russia as an IAAF member.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Athletics Weekly