IAAF upholds ban: How Russian doping scandal unfolded

From a documentary on systematic doping in Russian athletics airing in December 2014, here are the main events.

Published: 09th June 2019 12:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2019 12:20 AM   |  A+A-

Dmitry Shlyakhtin

President of the All-Russia Athletic Federation, Dmitry Shlyakhtin | AP


The IAAF, track and field's governing body, on Saturday, extended its ban on the Russian athletics federation, first put in place in November 2015.

Here are the main events in the long-running Russian doping controversy:

December 2014

German broadcaster ARD airs documentary alleging systematic doping in Russian athletics. A week later, Russian athletics chief and the treasurer of world athletics body IAAF, Valentin Balakhnichev, and IAAF marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack, son of then-IAAF president Lamine Diack, step down. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sets up an independent commission headed by its former chief, Dick Pound, to investigate the claims.

August 2015

ARD airs a second documentary with new accusations aimed at Russian and Kenyan athletes based on a leaked IAAF database with details of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 competitors which revealed "extraordinary" levels of doping. 

November 2015

WADA's report calls on Russia's track and field team to be banned from international competition, including from the 2016 Rio Olympics, until "state-sponsored" doping is eradicated. The IAAF suspends the Russian athletics team. WADA also suspends Russia's national anti-doping body, RUSADA, over non-compliance.

January 2016

WADA's second report into doping and corruption is published. It says high-ranking IAAF officials must have known about the wide scope of doping.

May 2016

Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory, goes public with details about an organised Russian doping campaign at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

July 2016

Barely two weeks before the Rio Olympics, Canadian law professor Richard McLaren releases an explosive report for WADA outlining state-run Russian doping at Sochi Games and other major sports events. WADA calls for Russia to be banned from Rio.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stops short of an outright ban and says individual sports federations will have to decide whether to allow Russian athletes.

December 2016

Second part of McLaren report is published, alleging state-sponsored Russian doping between 2011 and 2015, with sample-tampering at the 2012 London Olympics and Sochi 2014, where Russia topped the medals table.

December 2017

Vitaly Mutko, Russia's deputy prime minister, uses a speech before the draw for the 2018 World Cup in Russia to slam doping allegations as "an attempt to create an image of an axis of evil".

Following its own investigations, the IOC bans the Russian Olympic Committee from the Pyeongchang Games but says clean Russian athletes will be able to take part as neutral competitors. Mutko receives a lifetime Olympic ban.

January 2018

Some 168 Russian athletes are cleared by the IOC to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

May 2018

Mutko loses his sports brief in a new government announced less than one month before the start of the Russia-hosted World Cup.

September 2018

WADA controversially lifts its three-year ban on RUSADA, despite not having been granted access to its Moscow laboratory.

The Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) then registers an appeal by the Russian athletics federation (RUSAF) against its suspension by IAAF.

December 2018

Russian sports officials announce that WADA experts will return to Moscow next week to conduct an audit of RUSADA.

IAAF extends its ban on the RUSAF, the ninth time since the initial suspension, saying certain criteria for reintegration had not been met.

March 2019

Meeting in Doha, the IAAF Council votes for a 10th time to maintain the ban on Russia due to the unresolved issues of examination of data from the Moscow laboratory and outstanding costs.

June 2019

Despite the Task Force hailing "positive developments" such as payment of 2.8 million euros for its work and access granted to the Moscow lab, the IAAF Council again upholds the ban on Russia.

Concerns centred on Russian coaches who had been suspended for enabling doping continuing to train athletes as well as a report that RUSAF officials fabricated documents to cover for high jumper Danil Lysenko after he failed to make himself available for out-of-competition drug testing.

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