Yevgeny Yurchenko speaks during a news conference after being elected as the new President of the Russian Athletics Federation in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (Photo: AP)
The Russian Sports Ministry lifted a suspension of the country’s national track and field federation Monday and signaled the federation plans to accept more foreign criticism of its conduct on doping-related issues.
The ministry suspended official state recognition of the federation, known as RusAF, in January. That was a largely symbolic expression of disapproval at the federation’s failure to resolve long-running disputes related to drug testing. The federation’s entire board resigned soon after.
The ministry reversed that ruling Monday, three days after state aircraft executive Yevgeny Yurchenko was elected unopposed as the federation’s new president.
“I hope that in the near future ways out of the crisis will be found,” Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said in a statement. The ministry added that the federation would tell international governing body World Athletics that some criticism of its past conduct had been legitimate.
Former federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin resigned in November after he and six others were charged with filing false documents to give high jumper Danil Lysenko, the current world indoor champion, an alibi for being unavailable for a doping test.
The federation itself has been suspended by World Athletics since late 2015, though dozens of top Russians have been allowed to compete internationally as neutral athletes. That process was frozen after charges were brought in the Lysenko case, making it uncertain how many Russians may be allowed to compete in track and field at the Olympics in Tokyo this year.