New leadership gives hope for Russian return to athletics

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART QUALITY AS INCOMING

VIDEO SHOWS: SOUNDBITE FROM THE WORLD ATHLETICS CHAIR OF RUSSIA TASK FORCE RUNE ANDERSEN SAYING HE IS HOPEFUL ABOUT NEW RUSAF LEADERSHIP / RECENT FOOTAGE OF THE NEW PRESIDENT OF RUSSIAN ATHLETICS FEDERATION, PYOTR IVANOV / FILE OF EXTERIORS OF WORLD ATHLETICS HEADQUARTERS, FILE FOOTAGE OF MOSCOW DOPING LAB

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

SHOWS:

INTERNET (DECEMBER 2, 2020) (WORLD ATHLETICS - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD ATHLETICS CHAIR OF RUSSIA TASK FORCE, RUNE ANDERSEN, SAYING:

"Over the past few months, the foundation has been laid for the new RUSAF leadership, that was elected on Monday (November 30), this Monday, to put in place such a plan. Well-qualified international experts have been appointed who will work on the ground with RUSAF in Russia, helping it to draw up a detailed strategic and operational plan with clear objectives and timelines. A new framework agreement has been put in place that sets out how the task force and the international experts will help RUSAF to finalize and implement the plan. And that commits RUSAF to continuing to pay the costs incurred by World Athletics in the process. The international experts have already begun working with the senior RUSAF management team and have reported that the team has been very responsive and constructive in its approach. The stage has therefore been set for the newly-elected RUSAF president Pyotr Ivanov. If he puts the necessary commitment and resources behind the project, and wins the support for that effort of RUSAF's key stakeholders in Moscow and in the region, then the task force and the international experts stand ready to help him achieve the reinstatements of RUSAF's membership of World Athletics and the reintroduction of its athletes into international competition."

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (NOVEMBER 30, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

2. NEWLY-ELECTED PRESIDENT OF RUSSIAN ATHLETICS FEDERATION, PYOTR IVANOV, TAKING SEAT BEFORE A NEWS CONFERENCE

3. IVANOV SPEAKING AT NEWS CONFERENCE

4. IVANOV LEAVING NEWS CONFERENCE

MONTE CARLO, MONACO (FILE - JULY 30, 2020) (WORLD ATHLETICS HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL)

5. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF WORLD ATHLETICS HEADQUARTERS

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FILE - FEBRUARY 28, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

6. EXTERIORS OF RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE BUILDING

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FILE - MAY 24, 2016) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

7. EXTERIOR DOOR OF ANTI-DOPING CENTRE IN MOSCOW

8. VARIOUS INTERIORS OF THE RUSSIAN ANTI-DOPING CENTRE WITH PEOPLE WORKING IN LABS

STORY: Two days after the Russian Athletics Federation (RUSAF) elected a new president, World Athletics (WA) suggested on Wednesday (December 2) that there was light at the end of what has been a long, dark tunnel in terms of the country's return to sport.

Russian athletics has been in turmoil since its federation was banned by WA in 2015 on the back of widespread doping. RUSAF paid a multi-million dollar fine in August to hold off a further suspension having made little progress along the "Road Map" for a return laid out by WA's Task Force.

However, Rune Andersen, the head of the Task Force who has repeatedly voiced his frustration at the failure of Russian officials to follow the necessary steps or show a change of culture, told WA's Council this week that his initial discussions with new RUSAF president Pyotr Ivanov had given him renewed hope.

Andersen said a well-qualified international panel of experts have been appointed to work with RUSAF to draw up a detailed plan with clear objectives and timelines.

Andersen said that might be before the March 1 deadline of delivering a plan and that his organisation would consider it then if RUSAF delivers.

Should the impasse finally end it would open the door for Russians to compete at the 2021 world athletics championships in Eugene in the United States, and, potentially at next year's Tokyo Olympics should Russia succeed in its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the country's blanket sporting ban for supplying doctored data to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

WA's Council also decided to undertake a thorough review of the situation in Belarus to weigh up the risks of holding the world race walking team championships in Minsk in 2022, or consider finding an alternative host.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

Video Transcript

RUNE ANDERSEN: Over the past few months, the foundation has been laid for the new RUSAF leadership, that was elected on Monday, this Monday, to put into place such a plan. Well-qualified international experts have been appointed who will work on the ground with RUSAF in Russia, helping it to draw up a detailed strategic and operational plan with clear objectives and timelines.

A new framework agreement has been put in place that sets out how the task force and the international experts will help RUSAF to finalize and implement the plan. And commits RUSAF to continuing to pay the costs incurred by World Athletics in the process. The international experts have already begun working with the senior RUSAF management team and have reported that the team has been very responsive and constructive in its approach.

The stage has therefore been set for the newly-elected RUSAF president, Pyotr Ivanov. If he puts the necessary commitments and resources behind the project, and wins the support for that effort of RUSAF's key stakeholders in Moscow and in the region, then the task force and the international experts stand ready to help him achieve the reinstatement of RUSAF's membership of World Athletics and the reintroduction of its athletes to international competition.

[CAMERA SHUTTERS]

PYOTR IVANOV: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

- [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]