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Russian Olympic chief calls for full overhaul of athletics federation

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By Reuters
Russian Olympic chief calls for full overhaul of athletics federation
Newly elected president of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov arrives for a news conference followig a meeting of the committee in Moscow, Russia May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov   -   Copyright  MAXIM SHEMETOV(Reuters)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The head of Russia’s Olympic Committee on Monday called for a full overhaul in the leadership of the country’s suspended athletics federation after the sport’s global governing body halted its reinstatement process.

Russia’s athletics federation had been suspended since 2015 over a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which found evidence of mass doping in the sport.

It has since been working towards reinstatement but World Athletics, the sport’s global governing body formerly known as the IAAF, last week halted the process and raised the possibility of the Russian federation being expelled altogether after its president and six others were provisionally suspended over breaches of anti-doping rules.

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, head of Russia’s Olympic Committee, said in a statement that the entire leadership of the Russian athletics federation should be replaced and its presidium dissolved.

“If this recommendation will not be taken into account, we will consider the question of the membership of the athletics federation in the Russian Olympic Committee at our next executive committee meeting,” he said in a statement.

Pozdnyakov added that the scandal around its athletics federation “discredits all of Russian sport, inflicts colossal reputational damage on our country as a whole and undermines the foundations of the Olympic movement’s integrity”.

The federation officials were suspended for having provided false explanations and forged documents to explain three whereabouts violations by Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko, the silver medallist at the 2017 world championships.

In addition to the turmoil at its athletics federation, Russia’s chances of competing at next year’s Tokyo Olympics are in jeopardy after WADA’s Compliance Review Committee recommended that Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA be suspended again.

The recommendation came after WADA discovered inconsistencies in laboratory data provided by Moscow this year.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, editing by Ed Osmond)