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Coe says Russian doping will be addressed before Ukraine

World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP

World Athletics will look at whether Russians should compete while the Ukraine war is raging only after it decides about  the country’s doping ban, president Sebastian Coe said Friday.

The International Olympic Committee last month said it was exploring a “pathway” to allow Russian and Belarusian competitors to take part in the Paris Games in 2024 under a neutral flag, sparking fury from Ukraine.

Coe said the issue would be tackled again by his organisation but only after it decides at its council meeting next month whether Russia has made enough progress around doping.

Russia’s track and field federation has been barred since 2015 over a state-sponsored drugs scandal and is not eligible to host World Athletics events or send teams to international championships.

“The council will discuss the roadmap for reinstatement but specifically around the egregious attack on the integrity of our sport through doping,” Coe said ahead of the World Cross-Country Championships in Australia. 

“Only when that decision one way or the other — we will await a recommendation from the task force and I don’t want to pre-judge anything they will recommend to the council.

“But only on the basis of that conversation, or that discussion, would we move on to the second discussion (Ukraine).”

The World Athletics Council last year imposed sanctions against Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine, excluding athletes from all of its events for the foreseeable future, including suspending the option to compete as a neutral.

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