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Coe Says It's Too Early To Reinstate Russia Into IAAF

  • RFE/RL

IAAF President Sebastian Coe

IAAF President Sebastian Coe

The president of world athletics' governing body says Russia should not be reinstated at this time.

Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said at a meeting of the body in Monaco on March 11 that it needs more time to investigate Russian antidoping progress.

Coe said the IAAF will hold another council meeting in May to make a final decision on whether Russia will be readmitted in time for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Speaking shortly after Coe's statement, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said in Moscow that Russia has done enough to meet the IAAF's terms. He said Russia is prepared to do anything to be reinstated by the IAAF but that the conditions are unclear.

Mutko also said that the problem with doping in the sports world is global and that it should not be "manipulated" for political means.

He also said that Russian athletes will be unable to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics if a ban on their participation is not lifted by mid-July.

"If we are talking about the point of no return, it is after July 20 when the Russian Olympic Committee should confirm its team," Mutko said.

The IAAF suspended Russia in November after an independent report detailed systematic corruption and doping cover-ups in the country. It laid down a series of criteria for the Russians to meet before they can be eligible for readmission.

Last week, a documentary on the German TV channel ARD said Russia had made little progress on reform, that coaches banned for doping were still operating in the country, and officials newly installed as part of the clean-up were tipping off athletes ahead of drugs tests.

Coe on March 11 also identified five countries he said need to pay urgent attention to the state of their drug-testing systems.

He said Ukraine, Belarus, and Kenya "need to get compliant by the end of the year."

He also said that Ethiopia and Morocco need a robust testing program put into place.

The countries face no immediate sanctions and none of them is in any immediate danger of being banned from athletics or missing the Olympics, Coe said.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP