Paris (AFP)

The International Athletics Federation announced Thursday the temporary freeze of the reintegration process of Russian athletes under neutral banner following the decision of the Russian Federation (Rusaf) not to pay on time the fine imposed for violation of anti-doping rules.

"World Athletics can confirm that it has not received the payments due from the Russian Athletics Federation as of July 1, nor any information on when the funds could be paid, despite the reminders," said the International Federation. in a press release.

"As a result, World Athletics will terminate both the Doping Control Committee (DRB) and the Task Force (responsible for judging Russia's progress in anti-doping matters, editor's note) until the World Athletics Council examined and discussed the situation at its meeting on July 29 and 30, "the text continues.

Rusaf had until July 1 to pay the five million dollar (4.46 million euros) fine imposed in March by World Athletics for helping 2017 height vice-champion Danil Lysenko escape to a sanction for breaches of its localization obligations for unexpected doping controls.

President of the Russian Federation Yevgeny Yurtchenko on Wednesday spoke of "a lack of financial resources" due to "coronavirus" and "the difficult economic situation in the world" to justify his decision not to pay the fine.

World Athletics had already frozen in November 2019 the process allowing handpicked Russian athletes to participate in competitions outside Russia before authorizing a quota of 10 Russian athletes to take part in the Tokyo Olympic Games in exchange for the payment of this fine.

The body also froze the reintegration process of Russia, suspended since November 2015 for having established an institutional doping system.

"We recognize that times are difficult, but we are very disappointed by the lack of progress made by the Rusaf in terms of requirements set in March," reacted the president of the International Federation Sebastian Coe, quoted in the press release.

"The serious allegations of anti-doping rule violation led to a new administration of the Rusaf, we had assurances and hoped that changes were underway (...) This did not meet expectations. The Rusaf drops its athletes, "he adds.

Last week, stars of Russian athletics, Maria Lasitskene, Sergey Shubenkov and Anzhelika Sidorova, challenged President Vladimir Putin on the "catastrophic situation" of their sport, calling on him to act so as not to be deprived of the Olympic Games. Tokyo.

Anzhelika Sidorova, 2019 world champion in high jump, also reacted on Thursday to the non-payment of the fine with an angry message on Instagram, saying she felt "damn ashamed".

"Almost five years have passed and we are at the same place again", she continued: "Sometimes (...), I just want to get rid of all this mud in which we are plunged endlessly, go to sun and never again have anything to do with this sport. "

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