IAAF becomes World Athletics as RUSAF suspension maintained
The IAAF approved a new name, ‘World Athletics’, and a new logo for athletics’ world governing body at its ruling Council meeting at the weekend.Meanwhile, the long-running suspension of RUSAF, the Russian athletics federation, was, as expected, maintained, following new allegations last week that Russian athletics officials are helped cover up a doping offence by top Russian high jumper Danil Lysenko last year.
The IAAF said: “The new name, ‘World Athletics’, builds upon the organisation's restructuring and governance reform agenda of the past four years to represent a modern, more creative and positive face for the sport.
“The new brand, Council agreed, makes the sport more accessible to a wider audience while giving the global governing body the opportunity to more clearly communicate its mission as the leader of the world’s most participatory sport.”
Sebastian Coe, the IAAF president, said: “The hope is that our new brand will help attract and engage a new generation of young people to athletics. We have now created a brand that can come to life in the digital world while reflecting the changing nature of the sport. And at the same time bring into focus the athletes, the heroes of our sport.”
Jon Ridgeon, the IAAF’s chief executive, added: “The IAAF name has been in existence for over 100 years, but it has little understanding or relevance to those outside of athletics. The new identity creates a symbol that can stand alone and work with partners and events.”
The IAAF said that the new brand identity will begin its rollout in October after the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha and following the IAAF Congress’s approval of the change to the federation’s legal name.RUSAF suspension The IAAF said that Rune Andersen, the independent chairman of an IAAF taskforce investigating doing and corruption allegations against RUSAF, “noted recent allegations that RUSAF officials were involved in an attempt to cover up a doping offence by one of their athletes and that banned coaches and a banned doctor continue to work with athletes.”
Andersen added: “That calls into question whether RUSAF is able to enforce doping bans, and whether all RUSAF athletes have embraced the change to a new anti-doping culture proclaimed by RUSAF, both of which are conditions for reinstatement. The AIU [Athletics Integrity Unit] will be looking into this.”
Andersen said that one of the criteria for RUSAF’s reinstatement had been met: payment by RUSAF of all expenses incurred during the Russian crisis, which have totalled $3.2 million to date. He added that a second criterion is close to being met: receipt of the analytical data and any samples that the AIU needs from the Moscow lab in order to determine which athletes have a case to answer under the IAAF anti-doping rules.
Andersen concluded: “The taskforce shares Council’s frustration that progress in two areas is being undermined in apparent back-sliding in two other areas. [The taskforce] hopes the outstanding issues can be resolved soon. If and when they are, it will report that back at its Council meeting in Doha in September, if not before.”
Officials from RUSAF are suspected of conspiring to help Lysenko avoid a ban for failing to inform doping testers of his whereabouts, the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper has reported.
Documents alleging that he was too ill to attend the test are said to have been faked and signed off by a bogus clinic in Moscow. The newspaper quoted “a source with knowledge of the investigation in Russia,” who said: “The clinic was false from top to bottom, from registration numbers through to false doctors’ names through to falsified documentation. There is no clinic.
“The address used is a real address where there is a demolished building. They even lied about the demolished building.”
The AIU has seized data from computers and other electronic devices at RUSAF’s headquarters, the newspaper reported, and Dmitry Shlyakhtin, its president, was questioned about the allegations in Monaco in April.
In March, arrest warrants were issued for Valentin Balakhnichev, Shlyakhtin’s predecessor as president of RUSAF, then known as ARAF, and ex-national team coach Alexei Melnikov, over the doping and corruption scandal that tore through Russian athletics and the IAAF in 2015.
The warrants were issued by the French financial prosecutor which has jurisdiction in Monaco, where the IAAF is based.
Balakhnichev, Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack, son of Lamine Diack, the former IAAF president, were banned from the sport for life in 2016 over an alleged cover-up of positive doping tests by Russian athletes in return for money.
Lamine Diack is still on bail in France, facing several charges linked to the doping cover-ups and vote-buying schemes.
Balakhnichev told TASS, the Russian news agency, that he knew nothing about the arrest warrant and said he was a pensioner who did not intend to travel abroad.
In 2017, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne rejected appeals by Balakhnichev, Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack against their lifetime bans, imposed after they were found guilty of suppressing anti-doping violations and of extortion of money from Lilya Shobukhova, the Russian marathon runner.
CAS said that the trio “remain banned for life from any involvement in the sport of athletics,” adding that the charges had been “established beyond reasonable doubt.”
ARAF was suspended by the IAAF in 2015 amid allegations of state-supported doping in the country, and almost its entire track and field team was excluded from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.