Bach expects IAAF to take 'necessary' action against Russia

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Posted: Nov 11, 2015 2:28 PM
Bach expects IAAF to take 'necessary' action against Russia

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday he expects track and field's world governing body to take "the necessary measures" against the Russian federation for its record on doping.

Russia's track and field team could be suspended from the sport — nine months before next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — when IAAF President Sebastian Coe convenes a meeting of his ruling council on Friday to consider sanctions.

Bach said he expects action from the International Association of Athletics Federations, whose former president and other top officials are implicated in the Russian doping scandal.

"The IAAF has informed us they will take the necessary measures," Bach told reporters in Lausanne. "I am very positive that these measures will go into the right direction. That means to protect clean athletes."

However, the IOC president insisted that his committee has "no authority" to bar the Russian track team from Rio, leaving the decision in the IAAF's hands.

Bach pulled back from an earlier expression of apparent support for Russia, whose sports leaders have fought back rather than accepted the allegations detailed in a damning World Anti-Doping Agency report on Monday.

"We think also that Russia will cooperate to make progress and to make sure that Russian athletics is compliant with WADA," Bach said in an earlier interview with New Zealand's TV3 late Tuesday, "and this is what it needs to be in order to participate in the Olympic Games."

Bach dismissed a suggestion Wednesday that he was confident in Russia's ability to field a track team in Rio.

"This is not a question of confidence now," he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference about good governance in Olympic sports.

Bach also declined to speculate on whether barring the Russian track team would provoke a wider boycott of the Rio Games.

Asked if the Olympic body could show leadership in the Russian doping scandal, Bach replied: "We have already shown this leadership."

Bach said the IOC had already pledged to withdraw Olympic medals from any Russian athletes named in the WADA report who are found guilty of doping and exclude athletes and coaches from future Olympics.

"We have a proven track record and we will apply this zero tolerance policy," he said.

WADA's independent inquiry called for Russia's athletics federation to be suspended, citing evidence of corruption and collusion of Russian officials in covering up positive doping tests. The commission said Russian athletes should only be allowed to compete again once the country is fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Just 21 months ago, Russia topped the medals table on home soil at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, a $51 billion government project promoted by President Vladimir Putin.

Bach was asked if the integrity of the medals table could stand up while Russia has been accused of covering up doping at the Moscow testing lab.

"There have been tests performed by the international federations and they are not all going through the Moscow lab," he said, declining to be drawn on the lab director's admission that he destroyed 1,417 samples.

"I can only speak for the IOC, for our responsibility," Bach said.

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AP Sports Writer Steve McMorran contributed to this report from Wellington, New Zealand