As the President of European Athletics and a member of the IAAF Council, I have listened to today’s report of the IAAF Taskforce in Vienna and then participated in the discussion about the situation in Russia and in the Council’s decision to extend the suspension of the Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) from international competition. I fully support the result, which is in line with positions expressed to me by the majority of athletes, European Member Federations and European Athletics Council members with which I have had contact in the recent weeks.
The integrity of athletics and the protection of the right of athletes to fair competition untainted by doping are of the highest priority. Our unanimous decision, taken in an atmosphere of extreme pressure, is the clearest possible signal of the IAAF’s commitment to the values of our sport.
It would be unfair not to acknowledge the efforts of the RUSAF, and other sports organisations in Russia, to make improvements in their anti-doping practices and procedures but the Task Force left no doubt that more needs to be done before athletes and the public around the world can have 100% confidence that all competitors from Russia are subject to and comply with the internationally accepted standards of doping control.
It would also be unfair to allow the impression that doping is a problem confined to Russia or to athletics. I must emphasise that this is a challenge to all sports in every country. I therefore call on everyone who cares about sporting values to increase their awareness and redouble their efforts to eliminate cheating at all levels.
I want to specifically recognise those whistle-blowers and members of the media who have led this fight of late. You deserve our sincere thanks for your efforts.
For our part, we in European Athletics also aspire to be leaders in this field. We will carry on our work in a number of areas including a call for tougher sanctions for athletes, coaches and others found to have violated anti-doping regulations, closer cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the development of a system of mandatory anti-doping education leading to a license to compete in elite events.
We will also continue to communicate about these efforts and about our support for clean athletes through the statements printed on the bibs used in our competitions (“I Run Clean”, “I Jump Clean”, “I Throw Clean”).
With today’s decision I can confirm that, as RUSAF’s suspension remains in place, Russian athletes will not participate in any European Athletics competitions this summer – including the European Athletics Championships Amsterdam and European Athletics Youth Championships in Tbilisi.