IAAF says Russia recognises need for change

An IAAF inspection team tasked with overseeing reforms in Russia's scandal-ridden athletics said on Tuesday that the country's sports officials had recognised the need for change following doping and corruption allegations.

Rune Andersen, the head of the IAAF taskforce set up to determine whether Russia's ban from global track and field should be lifted, says the country is making efforts to reform after its doping scandal.   -  AP

An IAAF inspection team tasked with overseeing reforms in Russia's scandal-ridden athletics said on Tuesday that the country's sports officials had recognised the need for change following doping and corruption allegations.

Russian Olympic Committee officials have "recognised" a need to demonstrate recognition of problems and "a determination to effect real and lasting change in Russian athletics", Rune Andersen, head of the IAAF taskforce, said in a statement concluding its two-day visit.

The IAAF provisionally suspended the Russian athletics federation in November over a bombshell report by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission alleging state-sponsored doping and mass corruption in the sport.

Russia is now trying to clean up its act amid fears that its track and field stars could be sidelined from this summer's Rio de Janeiro Games.

The IAAF said Russia could only be reinstated if it fulfilled strict criteria outlined last month, including compliance with all WADA and IAAF anti-doping rules and requirements.

It said that the Russian athletics federation must "clean house" by showing that none of its directors, officers and staff "has any past involvement in doping" and "must sever ties with anyone who cannot meet this requirement".

Further Russian athletics "must introduce a comprehensive code of ethics and reasonable term limits for all of its officials moving forward."

Russian officials have vowed to revamp the country's anti-doping system in time for the country's track and field stars to compete in Rio.

The IAAF task force is expected to return to Moscow within the next month, the statement said. The Russian athletics federation is set to elect a new president on Saturday.

The federation's former head, Valentin Balakhnichev, was slapped with a lifetime ban by the IAAF ethics commission last week for bribes taken to cover up doping by Russian athletes.