Russia unlikely to compete in Rio, European Athletics chief says
LONDON (Reuters) - European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen does not expect Russia to return to international competition in time for next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Russian athletes were banned indefinitely by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report alleged widespread corruption and a state-sponsored drugs culture in a sporting superpower.
An IAAF inspection committee is due to visit Russia in January to oversee the country’s reform process and ensure the criteria set out by the sport's ruling body are met.
The committee will report back to the IAAF Council at the earliest at its meeting in Cardiff, Wales, on March 27, less than five months before the Olympics.
“For the moment they have to fulfil the conditions, but I cannot really see them competing in Rio," Hansen, whose body includes Russia as a member federation, told Athletics Weekly magazine on Tuesday.
“They must have a cultural change. They must get rid of all those people from before."
European Athletics, which oversees the sport in Europe, works with the IAAF world governing body on doping and medical issues.
However, the organization will have no influence on the decision to reinstate Russia as an IAAF member, which will only be made on the recommendation of the world ruling body's inspection team.
Norwegian Hansen believes that Russia's Athletic Federation (ARAF), which has confirmed it will co-operate fully with the inspection team, will work hard to change the culture. Continued...