Russian request to defer doping fine shot down by World Athletics

High jumper Maria Lasitskene last week called on authorities to pay the US$5 mil fine so she can take part in Tokyo. (AP pic)

MOSCOW: World Athletics said Monday it had shot down a request by Russia’s athletics federation to defer a payment of a US$5 million doping fine.

In March, World Athletics fined Russia’s track and field federation US$10 million for breaching anti-doping rules.

The system of allowing Russian athletes to take part in competitions including the Tokyo Olympics as neutrals will be suspended if US$5 million of the US$10 million fine is not paid by July 1.

On Monday, World Athletics spokeswoman Nicole Jeffery said that the governing body had received a request from Russia’s athletics federation (Rusaf) to defer the payment and it was declined.

“There would be no change to the sanctions agreed by the World Athletics Council in March,” Jeffery told AFP.

“The deadline for the payment is July 1, 2020,” she said, reiterating the governing body’s official position.

Eduard Bezuglov, vice-president at Rusaf, had said that they do not have the funds to pay the fine.

Contacted by AFP, Russia’s athletics federation declined immediate comment.

Last week several Russian athletes including star high jumper Maria Lasitskene had called on sporting authorities to pay the US$5 million fine to allow them to take part in the Tokyo Olympics.

Russia has been suspended by World Athletics since 2015 over repeated doping scandals and has been fighting for readmission.

The last report by World Athletics’ Task Force, in November, led to its decision-making Council suspending the process of reinstating Rusaf over charges against its officials that they obstructed an anti-doping investigation.

The Council also put a freeze on the system of allowing Russian athletes to compete as “Authorised Neutral Athletes”.

World Athletics have capped at 10 the number of Russians allowed to compete as neutrals at the Tokyo Olympics.