Russian Taskforce chair Rune Andersen says the status of RUSADA remains "an issue of concern" in terms of the Russian Athletics Federation being able to end its suspension from international competition ©Getty Images

The status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) remains "an issue of concern", according to Rune Andersen, chair of the Taskforce charged with overseeing the return of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) from the World Athletics suspension imposed in November 2015.

Andersen said: "In December 2020, the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) declared RUSADA non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code and imposed a series of consequences and reinstatement conditions that have to be met in order for RUSADA to be reinstated in December 2022.

"It is not clear, however, whether those reinstatement conditions are being met or whether RUSADA is able to perform its role as the independent Russian NADO (National Anti-Doping Organisation) effectively.

"In the meantime, to try to help fill the gap, RusAF has agreed to the Athletics Integrity Unit conducting extra testing of RusAF’s athletes, at RusAF’s cost."

Andersen reminded delegates that RusAF was required to establish a culture of zero tolerance towards doping in Russian athletics as part of the stipulations for its return to international competition.

He added that there was also a requirement for RusAF, RUSADA and the public authorities in Russia to "work together to create an effective anti-doping infrastructure that allows them and World Athletics (now through Athletics Integrity Unit) to work effectively on anti-doping activities in Russia and in respect of Russian athletes."

Andersen’s recommendation that the suspension – which followed the discovery of what he described as "a deeply-rooted culture of doping in Russian athletics" – should be maintained was approved by a large majority of the 53rd World Athletics Congress delegates meeting virtually today and tomorrow.

Andersen reported that RusAF had made "steady progress" towards meeting the conditions set for its reinstatement to membership of World Athletics and that the Taskforce feels these changes "are reflective of a new culture within RusAF, one that is generally looking to reject the doping practices of the past and to commit to competing clean moving forward."