Russia suspended after overwhelming IAAF vote

Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:06pm EST
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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Athletics' governing body has voted overwhelmingly to suspend Russia from the sport for widespread, state-sponsored doping and the ban will include the 2016 Olympics unless the country can demonstrate a major change in their approach and controls.

After a three-hour teleconference on Friday, hosted by its president Sebastian Coe, the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) council voted 22-1 in favor of the sanction, with the Russian representative not able to vote.

The meeting was called to discuss Monday's report by the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which recommended the punishment -- 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," Coe told reporters after Friday's call.

"This is not about politics, this is about the protection of clean athletes. I cannot overstate the feeling around the conference call this evening about sending the strongest possible message that we can.

"This has been a shameful wake-up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated.   Continued...

Newly elected President of International Association of Athletics Federations Sebastian Coe listens to a question at a news conference in Beijing, in this August 19, 2015 file photo.  REUTERS/Jason Lee/Files