15 Nov 2015

Russian Olympic Committee agrees clean-up

8:34 am on 15 November 2015

The first signs of a compromise that would allow Russia to compete at next year's Rio Olympics have already emerged, after the country was provisionally suspended over a doping and corruption scandal.

Russia's anti-doping centre, based at the Federal Research Center of Physical Training and Sport in Moscow Vitaliy Belousov/RIA Novosti

Russia's anti-doping centre in Moscow Photo: AFP

The Russian Olympic committee has reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee to ensure that Russian athletes clear of doping can compete at next year's Rio Games.

And Russia has set out a three-month road map to clean up its act.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said he had agreed a road map with IAAF head Sebastian Coe and that his nation would soon be compliant with the association's rules.

"In three months we will once again go to the international federation to present ourselves as compliant with its standards," Mutko told Russian television. "We hope our team will be reinstated."

"The Russian Olympic Committee is firmly convinced that honest athletes must participate in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov said.

"At the same time, everyone who was involved in the use of illicit drugs and contributed to it, should take full responsibility," Zhukov said.

"The Russian Olympic Committee is determined that the clean athletes should compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Anyone found guilty of using illegal drugs or anyone who facilitated or was complicit in their use must be punished."

Zhukov also said he was prepared to resign as the doping and corruption scandal threatened to cost the country its place at the 2016 Olympics.

The International Association of Athletics Federations voted overwhelmingly overnight Friday-Saturday to suspend the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) for widespread and state-sponsored doping.

The IAAF council voted 22-1 in favour of suspending Russia.

Russia's gold medallist Mariya Savinova celebrating her suspicious women's 800m win at the London 2012 Olympics. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE

Russia's Mariya Savinova celebrating her suspicious gold medal win in the 800m at the London Games Photo: AFP

Vadim Zelichenok, the acting head of the ARAF, said the IAAF ban was harsh but that he was prepared to resign to help Russian athletics recover from the scandal, Russian news agencies reported.

"I believe, the IAAF council made a decision which was too severe," Zelichenok was quoted as by R-Sport agency.

But other Russian officials said the suspension would be quickly resolved and hinted that they might appeal against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

"It is a predictable and understandable decision," Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport of the IAAF decision. "We need to understand what they want and where they see threats.

"We will develop a joint road map and try do it quickly. I think we can do all the work in two to three months."

ARAF General Secretary Mikhail Butov told R-Sport: "If there is something that doesn't satisfy us, then there is sense in talking about an appeal," he added. "I am sure that Russia will go to the Olympic Games."

Mutko and ARAF members will meet for emergency talks on November the 15th, Tass news agency reported.

Russia is one of the superpowers of world athletics and finished second behind the United States in the track and field medal count at the 2012 Olympics in London.

President Vladimir Putin has used sporting successes to promote his image of Russia as a resurgent global power, portraying its hosting of the winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 as a symbol of a newly confident nation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) meets with sportsmen as he visits a sports centre in Sochi on November 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / ALEXEI DRUZHININ

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) meets with sportsmen as he visits a sports centre in Sochi Photo: AFP

Following the IAAF council meeting, Russia is being stripped of hosting the world race walking and world junior championships next year. The first competition to be affected by the ban is the European cross-country championships in France on December 13th.

Daming report led to provisional ban

A report earlier in the week by the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommended the punishment for Russia, which is unprecedented for doping offences.

The report alleged systemic collusion between Russian athletes and both the country's federation and anti-doping authorities and a deeply-rooted culture of cheating that enabled athletes to take performance-enhancing drugs without fear of being tested.

The report recommended suspending the Russian federation until a new framework was in place.

"We will get the change we want and only then will Russian athletes return to international competition," IAAF president Sebastian Coe told reporters after the suspension was announced.

"But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world."

Lord Sebastian Coe speaking at an event in Auckland.

Lord Sebastian Coe speaking at an event in Auckland. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Asked if Russia would be able to make the required changes in time to return for the Olympics, Coe said: "It is entirely up to the Russian federation. Our verification team will be tough and will want to make sure that before there is a re-introduction to the sport for their athletes and the federation those changes have taken place."

The main athletics events in 2016 are the world Indoor Championships, the European athletics championships and the Olympics.

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