Russia given five months extension to fix 'deficient' doping plan

World Athletics had previously said that the Russian Athletics Federation could be expelled from membership if it didn’t compose an anti-doping plan.

Bussinessman Yevgeny Yurchenko resigned as RusAF's president in July but returned as it acting president recently.   -  Getty Images

Russia has been given five more months to fix a “seriously deficient” plan to combat doping in track and field, World Athletics said Saturday.

Track’s world governing body said Russia’s deadline was moved from September 30 to March 1. A World Athletics taskforce reported the Russian track federation, known as RusAF, had so few experienced staff that it couldn’t compose an adequate road map for lifting a doping suspension which has been in place nearly five years.

"Although the draft plan was better than what has come before (in particular, in acknowledging the doping culture in Russian athletics, and in identifying some of the systemic issues that have to be addressed to change that culture), it is nevertheless seriously deficient and does not meet most of the requirements,” the taskforce said in a statement.

"The taskforce could not possibly provide feedback that would facilitate turning this product into an acceptable plan by the end of September unless we took on the job of rewriting it ourselves, when our job is supposed to be only the provision of advice and feedback on what they come up with based on their own analysis of the situation.”

World Athletics had previously said RusAF could be expelled from membership if it didn’t compose an anti-doping plan. RusAF handed in a draft plan last month and was meant to modify it by September 30 to include changes required by World Athletics. The taskforce said a “void” of experience in senior management hampered the work.

Russia dismisses anti-doping chief over alleged financial violations  

The then-president Dmitry Shlyakhtin was among five RusAF employees or board members who were suspended last year over allegations of providing forged documents to give an athlete an alibi for being unavailable for doping testing. Long-running financial problems have made it hard for RusAF to attract and retain staff.

RusAF is due to elect a new president in November. Businessman Yevgeny Yurchenko took over in February but resigned in July after the federation missed a deadline to pay a fine to World Athletics. Yurchenko is now back as acting president after the Russian Sports Ministry provided money to pay the fine.

The five-month delay won’t stop Russians competing in any major competitions. The Diamond League season has finished for 2020 and the world indoor championships - rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic - start on March 19.