No timetable on Russia return, says IAAF head Coe
By Mitch Phillips
MONACO (Reuters) - The question of whether Russia will take part in next year's Olympic Games was no clearer on Thursday after IAAF president Sebastian Coe held a news conference dominated instead by his personal relationship with Nike.
Russia was banned from athletics two weeks ago after a report by the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) detailed systematic, state-sponsored doping and related corruption in the country that had "sabotaged" the 2012 Olympics.
The Russian athletics federation said on Thursday it would not appeal against the ban and would work closely with the governing IAAF and WADA to put measures in place that would lead to a reinstatement, but Coe was unable to give a timeframe.
Coe spent most of the 40-minute news conference answering questions about his decision to cut his ties with sportswear company Nike and though the Russia situation was expected to be the main topic of the council meeting, he said it had only been "touched upon."
Athletics superpower Russia will definitely miss the world indoor championships in Portland, in the United States, in March but Coe would not be drawn on the country's prospects of being allowed back in time for the August Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"There is no deadline," he told Reuters. "It is for the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) to decide the right and proper moment for the Russian federation and their clean athletes to get back into competition.
"It is our instinct to get clean athletes back into competition but that is entirely predicated on the speed with which we can get our inspection team and the Russian federation to meet.
"Only then, when we're entirely satisfied that we have enacted the change that we want, will we welcome back the clean athletes." Continued...