Viktor Chegin, head coach of the Russian Olympic training centre for race walkers which has suffered a spate of doping positives in recent years, faces an imminent ban, according to a senior figure within the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Chegin has remained in his post despite the fact that at least 20 walkers at the centre in Saransk have been implicated in doping scandals, and its Director, Beijing 2008 20 kilometres champion Olga Kaniskina, resigned earlier this year.
But Thomas Capdevielle, the IAAF's anti-doping senior manager, told a phone conference today he was "confident" that Chegin would be sanctioned as part of the current investigation by the IAAF into allegations of systematic doping within Russian track and field.
The IAAF are working in parallel with a wider-ranging investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency following allegations which emerged in a German TV documentary aired in December entitled Top Secret Doping: How Russia makes its Winners.
Capdevielle, who heads the IAAF investigation into the All-Russian Athetics Federation - whose President, Valentin Balakhnichev, has announced he will resign later this month - said: "We hope to be able at least to initiate proceedings in the next two or three months of the first individuals."
At least 17 leading race walkers at the facility have served bans, including the reigning Olympic and World champion and world record holder, Elena Lashmanova, who was suspended for two years in July 2014 for taking banned substance GW1516.
On the subject of Chegin, he commented: "There is a disciplinary procedure initiated against this individual and the case is being pursued.
"The numbers talk here - this is a coach who has had more than 20 of his athletes testing positive, and as journalists you make the link easily on a case of this scale.
"But if you go after the coach you to have to find evidence that this coach actively administered substances or facilitated the doping of his athletes.
"It requires some investigation but we are confident that it will end up in a satisfying conclusion for us - the sanction that this coach is out of the sport."
Asked how soon a decision could be expected, Capdevielle responded: "We have to respect that a number of individual cases are also involved in WADA's overall investigation into Russian sport.
"Because Chegin is part of not just the race walking group, but the system as a whole.
"Our rules do allow a provisional suspension if we feel a case is taking too long, or that an individual should be immediately stopped being a trainer.
"This is something we can do."
Capdevielle added that the IAAF would decide "within one or two weeks" whether to contest the recent decision by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to ban Yulia Zaripova and Tatyana Chernova but to allow them to retain their respective 2011 World 3,000 metres steeplechase and heptathlon titles despite their results being annulled before and after that event.
Capdevielle said that drawing conclusions from the series of blood profiles which make up the Athletes Biological Passport - irregularities in which led to the bans for both athletes - was a complex task.
"Passport cases are a series of blood results," he said.
"Where do you draw the line?
"You have a graph with ups and downs."
He explained that RUSADA had used a rule established within the Court of Arbitration for Sport relating to a cycling case in which competition results were related only to the blood reading at the time, with a window of a month before or after.
"You can say, 'This blood value at the World Championships is normal.
"'So why disqualify?'"
But there are a lot of pros and cons to the argument.
Obviously when you have an athlete for whom eight out of 10 values are abnormal you say well it is more likely than not that the athlete dopes all his career, especially when you can bring in historical data as we have in the IAAF.
"We are going to look at these profiles before we are reaching full decision," said Capdevielle.
"We are going to send information to our experts and legal counsel and decide in the next week or two whether we have a different view on this.
"And whether the 2011 results should be disqualified."
Among those awaiting the ruling with keen interest will be Britain's Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, who took silver behind Chernova at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
Meanwhile, Capdevielle has revealed that nine Turkish coaches were sanctioned last year following a mass of doping cases within the domestic sport, with suspensions following for stars such as Nevin Yanit, the double European 100m hurdles champion.
"In Turkey in 2013 and 2014 we had 45-50 cases of doping," said Capdevielle.
"So we sat down with the Turkish Athletic Federation and said, 'OK guys, you have got to do something about it.
"'You cannot only do one case after another.
"'You have to interview each athlete one-by-one, and ask him or her all the background information which allows you to find the real source of the problem.'
"And they did and they sanctioned nine coaches last year.
"And this is really something positive and where we at the IAAF need the support of the Federation or the national doping agency to do."
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