Russia track and field faces expulsion if it misses deadline

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Russia is set to be expelled from membership in World Athletics if it does not make outstanding payments of more than $6 million before Aug. 15, which it has promised to do.

Russian Minister of Sport Oleg Matytsin promised to make the overdue payment by Aug. 15, according to a letter sent to World Athletics on Thursday.

An expulsion could continue to keep Russian athletes from being allowed to compete as neutrals, which they’ve been able to do until recently. The nation was first banned in 2015 for its anti-doping problems.

When Russia failed to pay its fine by a July 1 deadline, the program allowing Russians to compete internationally was frozen.

The fine was imposed after the Russia track federation president admitted wrongdoing on behalf of the federation under its previous leadership.

The federation had been accused of providing forged documents to give an athlete an alibi for being unavailable for doping testing. The president resigned two weeks ago.

Rune Andersen, who chairs a taskforce working on the Russia situation, said there has been “very little in terms of changing the culture of Russian athletics” in the past five years.

The taskforce spent “an enormous amount of time and effort trying to help RusAF [Russia’s track and field federation] reform itself and Russian athletics, for the benefit of all clean Russian athletes,” Andersen said in a press release, but the response was inadequate.

World Athletics president Seb Coe said that a final decision on expulsion would normally be scheduled for next year, but the taskforce recommended a special meeting as soon as possible to vote on it if the payment isn’t made.

If Russia is expelled, it would be a “lengthy process” and “very difficult” to regain membership, Coe said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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