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Coe critical of sluggish Russian action

ReutersLONDON (Reuters) — IAAF chief Sebastian Coe said on Thursday he was disappointed by the lack of progress made by Russia in cleaning up its anti-doping regime, and made it clear that the ban on the country’s athletics federation would continue indefinitely.

After a meeting of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ ruling Council, the IAAF president said obstacles had continued to be put in the path of the taskforce appointed to oversee the transformation of Russia’s anti-doping operation.

“There has been some progress but there are still some very big gaps in the key milestones,” Coe said. “I’m disappointed and see no reason why better progress has not been made, it’s not that complicated frankly.

“Council was disappointed and concerned to learn that the prospect of the milestones being fulfilled this year by RUSAF [the Russian athletics federation] remains a distant one.”

Coe identified problems around the number of doping tests, Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) records being withheld, some athletes still training in “closed cities” with no access for doping control and coaches tainted by the previous regime still operating.

“RUSAF should be under no illusions that the criteria stands,” he said.

“We will continue to be tough. There is no timeline here. We will look again in July and make a judgment, but we are going to see this through, this is non-negotiable.”

RUSAF was banned in November, 2015 after an independent World Anti-Doping Agency probe exposed state-sponsored doping on a massive scale.

Most Russian athletes missed last year’s Rio Games and will also be absent from worlds in London in August.

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