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Russia federation says it has paid multi-million-dollar doping fine

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s suspended athletics federation said on Wednesday it had paid a multi-million-dollar fine to World Athletics in a move that could help it avoid expulsion by the sport’s global governing body.

Last month World Athletics said the federation would be expelled if it failed to pay $6.31 million, a sum that includes a fine for breaching anti-doping rules, before Aug. 15.

The expulsion, which would have to be approved by the World Athletics Congress, would lead to Russian athletes being sidelined from international competitions, including those who had previously been authorised to compete as neutrals.

World Athletics also said at the time that no Russian athletes could be cleared to compete internationally until the payment was made.

The federation had missed the initial payment deadline of July 1, saying it did not have enough funds to cover the fine and other fees and that it was still seeking external funding.

It said on Wednesday that a subsidy from the Sports Ministry had allowed it to pay the fine before the new deadline. Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin had previously guaranteed World Athletics that the fine would be paid by mid-August.

In order to avoid expulsion, the federation still needs to submit a new reform plan by the end of the month and show progress in achieving its objectives in overhauling its culture and anti-doping practices.

Russia’s athletics federation was suspended in 2015 after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping among track and field athletes.

The federation’s handling of the crisis has angered some of the country’s top athletes, including three-times world high jump champion Maria Lasitskene, who has been among its most vocal critics.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alison Williams

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