The Russian Athletics Federation (Rusaf) is in trouble after missing out on their fine and associated costs payment relating to the doping suspension applied to its sportsmen and women.
By July 1st, they were meant to pay US $6.3 million US $5 million in fines and US $1.3 in costs to World Athletics. However, earlier this week, Yevgeny Yurchenko, head of Rusaf, insisted that his organisation did not have the funds to pay the money.
That has bitterly disappointed World Athletics, who, although recognising the difficult financial situation for many sporting organisations now in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic, had been hoping to see some progress from Russia, who had promised to clean up their sport. Now they are considering what further action to take.
One group who could immediately be affected are those Russian athletes due to compete under a neutral flag at the next Olympics. Unless World Athletics relents, they face an automatic ban because Rusaf has failed to pay half the amount owed.
Last year Russia was given a four-year ban from all major sporting events after it was found that laboratory data provided to WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) had been manipulated.
Rusaf were obliged to provide the data after the country’s controversial reinstatement to international sporting status in 2018 after a three-year ban imposed for systemic and state sponsored doping of its athletes. That included a deliberate programme of altering the samples provided by its athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as numerous other breaches of the rules.
In response to the international condemnation, Russia overhauled its sporting administration with promises that it was going to clean-up its act. However, the early signs are not good, and it may be that Rusaf is pleading financial hardship to mask a lack of real reform.