MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian track federation’s president stepped aside Saturday after taking a job with a government agency, bringing more leadership churn to a body which is already suspended from World Athletics over doping.
The federation, known as RusAF, said that Pyotr Ivanov would officially remain president but relinquish his authority until December 2022. That’s when restrictions imposed on Russian sports officials by a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling expire.
Irina Privalova, gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2000 Olympics, will take temporary charge at RusAF.
“World Athletics is committed to complying strictly with both the letter and the spirit of the CAS ruling and as a result Mr. Ivanov has stepped down as RusAF President and from the RusAF Presidium. This includes relinquishing all responsibilities and positions on any Management structures, the Board and Board of Trustees,” World Athletics said in an e-mailed statement.
“We are grateful for the work Mr. Ivanov has led with his internal team and our international experts on the RusAF reinstatement plan, and are confident this good work will continue.”
The CAS ruling blocks Russian government representatives from sitting on the boards of a range of sports bodies. The Russian cabinet appointed Ivanov as deputy director of a government anti-trust body last month, one month after the CAS ruling.
Ivanov was elected to the presidency on Nov. 30 for a four-year term and had been expected to push through reforms to finally lift a suspension imposed on the federation in 2015 over widespread doping.
RusAF has until March 1 to submit an anti-doping plan after World Athletics deemed the first draft “seriously deficient” in September. If the plan isn’t confirmed soon, that could block Russian athletes from being allowed to compete under neutral status at next month’s European indoor championships in Poland.
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin told state news agency Tass that he hoped the federation would be able to carry on as before without Ivanov. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe had “a constructive attitude” to Ivanov’s time in charge, Matytsin said.
RusAF was without a president for much of 2020 after Dmitry Shlyakhtin stepped down in Nov. 2019, facing a disciplinary charge of obstructing an investigation into why an athlete wasn’t available for drug testing. Businessman Yevgeny Yurchenko took over in Feb. 2020 but resigned five months later amid financial problems at the federation.
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