July 28, 2020 / 5:12 PM / 17 days ago

Russia asks World Athletics to postpone decision on possible expulsion

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s suspended athletics federation (RusAF) has asked World Athletics to postpone a decision on potential fresh sanctions or even expulsion.

RusAF’s troubles have snowballed in recent months, with some of its officials and senior coaches embroiled in doping scandals.

The federation has been suspended for nearly five years over mass doping, and missed a July 1 deadline to pay millions of dollars to World Athletics as a fine for breaching anti-doping rules.

The missed deadline prompted World Athletics to halt the process by which Russian athletes competing in a doping-free environment can be cleared to compete internationally as neutrals.

World Athletics also said the taskforce overseeing the federation’s reinstatement efforts was standing down until a meeting of its Council on July 29-30.

In a letter seen by Reuters, RusAF appealed to World Athletics not to rule on its fate at the Council meeting this week.

“Taking into account the work we have already done and our good faith intentions to continue this work, we very much hope that the Council will be able to consider the possibility of postponing the decision on the RusAF case to a later date and continue our cooperation on resolving this matter,” said the letter, which was dated July 28 and signed by Alexey Plotnikov, the federation’s first vice president.

The federation said financial woes prevented it from making the payment. It said it did not have sufficient funds to cover the fine and expenses totalling $6.31 million and that there had been no incoming payments to its accounts since December last year.

It added that it was still searching for external financing, something it said “is not an easy process in the current circumstances.”

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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