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Russian Olympic Comittee to take lead on doping reforms

Russian Olympic Comittee to take lead on doping reforms

MOSCOW: The Russian Olympic Committee promised Saturday to lead efforts to reform the country’s scandal-hit athletics federation as the country faces possible exclusion from Olympic track and field.

Russia was suspended by a 22-1 vote on Friday by the governing council of the IAAF, track and field’s governing body, four days after a World Anti-Doping Agency report accused the country of operating a vast state-sponsored doping program.

“The Russian Olympic Committee is ready to take the initiative on reforming [the Russian athletics federation], in accordance with IAAF requirements and anti-doping legislation,” ROC president Alexander Zhukov said in a statement.

Zhukov’s statement comes two days after he met in Switzerland with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

Zhukov, who is also a senior Russian political figure and ally of President Vladimir Putin, said on Saturday he was “convinced that the ROC’s actions in this area will find support from the IOC, WADA and the IAAF leadership.”

Sunday will see a crunch meeting of the Russian athletics federation leadership to discuss the fallout of Russia’s exclusion from competition.

It will take place at the Sports Ministry with minister Vitaly Mutko in attendance, federation spokeswoman Alla Glushchenko said.

Mutko has spoken of his readiness to make personnel changes to ensure Russia can return to competition for the Olympics.

To “fire everyone” would be an acceptable price to pay, he told reporters on Friday.

Also on Saturday, the head of the federation said he could go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to appeal the ban from global track and field.

The Russian track federation’s acting president Vadim Zelichenok said Russia is focused on finding “a rational compromise” to have the ban lifted but could appeal to CAS if the IAAF “tells us clearly that it doesn’t accept any of our arguments,” in comments to the Tass agency.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2015

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