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February 6, 2017

What we learned from the IAAF Council Meeting: Russia remains banned, transfers suspended

The IAAF held a council meeting on Monday to touch on various topics including the status of Russia’s possible return to international competition. Here’s a few key points from what we learned:

Transfers on hold

The IAAF has frozen a transfer of all allegiance switches in track and field. The IAAF has set up a group to examine the issue and then share proposals for new rules. This will all be determined by the end of the year.

“It has become abundantly clear with regular multiple transfers of athletes especially from Africa that the present rules are no longer fit for purpose,” IAAF President Seb Coe said. “Athletics, which at its highest levels of competition is a championship sport based upon national teams, is particularly vulnerable in this respect. Furthermore, the present rules do not offer the protections necessary to the individual athletes involved and are open to abuse.”

It’s true. If we look at countries like Qatar or Turkey, there are noticeable athletes that make the switch because A) They’re getting paid well to do so. B) It’s much easier to make some of the distance teams for world championships and Olympics than places like Kenya and Ethiopia.

This does change does not apply to 15 applications that are currently under review.

Russia out for London

Russia will miss the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London as the IAAF will only re-evaluate them for reinstatement as early as November 2017.

Russia’s anti-doping efforts have made some progress but not enough to get reinstated.

This does not mean that some of the Russians that won gold at the world champions will not be able to defend their respective titles. 35 Russian athletes have applied to compete as neutral athletes at the 2017 world championships in London. Yuliya Stepanova and Dariya Klishina have already been cleared to return to competition.

IAAF gets rid of World Championship bidding

The formal bidding process for world championships is no more.

The IAAF will choose host cities for major events “by targeting cities from countries and regions which will best assist the delivery of those aims. The aim is to create a true partnership matching the hopes and ambitions of potential hosts with those of the IAAF.”

This will change applies to events after 2021.

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