The Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (World Athletics) has postponed until March 2021 the issue of assigning neutral status to Russian athletes.

However, athletes will have a chance to get admission earlier and compete in international competitions this winter.

This was announced by the head of the working group for the restoration of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) Rune Andersen.

“We discussed the neutral status for Russian athletes.

We need to wait and see how the situation develops.

But such a possibility exists.

If everything goes as we hope to see under the new leadership of the ARAF, then we will discuss this issue and will be ready to recommend the council to make a decision on neutral statuses, ”TASS quoted him as saying.

By March 1 of the next year, ARAF must submit its plan to restore membership in World Athletics - this is one of the three sine qua non conditions for the July decision of the International Association Board to exclude ARAF from its membership does not come into effect (now its implementation is suspended) ...

ARAF must also continue to pay the costs incurred by World Athletics in connection with the renewal process (the last payment was made between April 1 and September 30 in the amount of $ 321.5 thousand) and follow its restoration plan when it is approved.

The head of the working group noted that ARAF has achieved some success in drawing up a recovery plan, which must be submitted strictly before March 1, 2021.

The Russian side has the right to submit the document before this deadline, Andersen said.

To work on the plan, two independent experts will be involved, who will keep in touch with ARAF and World Athletics.

They will be the former deputy general director of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) Margarita Pakhnotskaya and Lithuanian change management specialist Vladas Stankevicius.

Former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) expert Peter Nicholson will help them remotely.

“For direct work with ARAF, highly qualified international experts have been appointed to help draw up detailed strategic and operational plans with clearly defined goals and dates.

A new agreement has been made that defines how the working group and international experts will help ARAF agree and implement these plans, and also ensures that ARAF will continue to cover World Athletics' costs during this time.

International experts have already started working with the top management of ARAF and noted that they are responsive and constructive in their approach, ”Andersen said.

On November 30, the election of a new president of the ARAF was held, which was won by the head of the Russian Triathlon Federation (on December 5, new elections for this position will take place) and the General Director of the High-Speed ​​Railways company Pyotr Ivanov.

Andersen noted that he had already contacted Ivanov and expressed his hope for close cooperation, which will ultimately lead to the restoration of ARAF.

“If he invests the necessary efforts and resources in this project and enlists the support of persons interested in ARAF in Moscow and the regions, the working group and international experts will be ready to help him achieve the restoration of ARAF as part of World Athletics and the return of athletes to international competitions,” he said. head of the working group.

In turn, Ivanov, who has already become the third functionary as president of ARAF in 2020, said that he was ready to accept the conditions of the working group and fight for the return of neutral status for Russian athletes.

“Based on the results of the press conference, I can say one thing: we are given one more chance.

But this is not just a chance - it is also a great responsibility.

Questions on the formation of a strategic plan for the recovery of ARAF will become the main ones when making recommendations from the working group.

Restoring the status of neutral athletes is an integral part of these processes.

A start has been made, we will strive to justify this trust, ”Ivanov said.

It should be added that even if Russian track and field athletes are allowed to compete as neutral athletes, they will have to comply with a quota of ten people at the official World Athletics championships and the Tokyo Olympics.

It will be possible to put up a full team in the competition only after the restoration of ARAF in the international federation.