Athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, has voted overwhelmingly to suspend Russia from the sport for widespread, state-sponsored doping.
The ban will include the 2016 Olympics unless the country can demonstrate a major change in their approach and controls.
After a three-hour teleconference hosted by its president Sebastian Coe, the IAAF council voted 22-1 in favour of the sanction, with the Russian representative not able to vote.
The meeting was called to discuss Monday’s report by the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which recommended the punishment, unprecedented for doping offences.
The report alleged “systemic” collusion between Russian athletes and both the country’s federation and anti-doping authorities and a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” that enabled athletes to take performance-enhancing drugs without fear of being tested.
The report recommended suspending the Russian federation until a “new framework” was in place.
“We will get the change we want and only then will Russian athletes return to international competition,” Coe said.
“This is not about politics, this is about the protection of clean athletes. I cannot overstate the feeling around the conference call this evening about sending the strongest possible message that we can. This has been a shameful wake-up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated.
“But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world.”
Suspension ‘very strange’
Vitaly Mutko, Russian sports minister, has criticised Russia’s suspension and labelled it “very strange”, saying that the IAAF should have focused on its own legal problems instead.
Mutko told the Associated Press news agency that “our reaction is calm, we didn’t expect anything else” and that the suspension could be lifted in time for the world indoor championships in Portland, Oregon, in March.
With the IAAF’s former president under investigation by French prosecutors investigating corruption and money-laundering charges linked to the IAAF, Mutko says its priorities should have been elsewhere.
He says banning Russia at this time “looks very strange”.