European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen has remarked Russia is likely to miss the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Hansen remarked there is probably too little time for the Russian sports federation to comply with the various verification criteria required by the IAAF to return to competition. In an interview, Hansen said he cannot really see them competing in Rio for the moment they have to fulfill the conditions. Hansen added we will have the first report to the IAAF in March but for the moment they have to really, really put a lot of effort in to compete in Rio and also commented that Russia must have a cultural change and must get rid of all those people from before. Hansen also said we know some good people in Russian athletics and he is sure they will be elected. The European Athletics president added we hope that some new people will come in who really understand that this must be changed.

The Olympics powerhouse was banned for an indefinite period of time recently by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after an independent commission by the World Anti-Doping Agency uncovered widespread doping among its athletes. It was also claimed by the commission’s report that the Kremlin government was complicit in a well-organized program to give its competitors an edge in competitions.

A taskforce from IAAF is expected to visit Russia for the first time on January 10-11 next year for inspecting the response to the doping scandal that resulted in the indefinite ban. Rune Anderson, independent chairman of the taskforce, remarked we have established a good working relationship as the basis of our future discussions and meetings. The committee is likely to report back to the International Association of Athletics Federations council at the earliest at its meeting in Cardiff, Wales, on 27 March, which is less than five months before the Olympics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and all colleagues connected with sport to pay full attention to the doping allegations. Putin has also called for an internal investigation to be conducted that would guarantee full cooperation with international anti-doping bodies. Putin also added the struggle with doping in sports, unfortunately, remains a pressing issue and it requires unending attention but was quick to draw a clear distinction with clean athletes. The Russian President said it is absolutely clear that athletes who stay away from dope and clean shouldn’t be held responsible for those who use performance enhancing drugs.

Russia was suspended in November this year after a WADA commission, which was led by Dick Pound, exposed widespread, systematic and allegedly state-sanctioned doping. The report by WADA examined allegations of doping, cover-ups, and extortion in Russian athletics and also implicated the world governing body of athletics. Many of country’s athletes received doping bans in the recent past. Recently, Russian 1500m runner Kristina Ugarova and 800m runner Tatyana Myazina were among athletes who were recommended for life bans in a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report.

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