Russia awaits sanction from IAAF council over doping scandal

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Russia will learn its fate later on Friday when the ruling council of athletics' world governing body meets to decide on action on the doping scandal.

The 27-strong IAAF council can impose a provisional suspension but will not have the authority to impose a ban on Russia attending next year's Olympics for the systematic "state-sponsored" doping exposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency's independent commission.

Any permanent sanction will have to be imposed by a disciplinary panel following a formal process which is likely to be launched following the council meeting on Friday evening.

IAAF president Lord Coe is determined to show he will act against Russia, but he is also expected to acknowledge that the country has taken steps since the scandal first broke in December last year when German broadcaster ARD screened a documentary.

There have been growing indications that the Russians will accept some of the WADA findings but will challenge other aspects.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told Russia's R-Sport agency: "We are prepared to re-certify the laboratory, or to reform, or to create a new anti-doping organisation. We're prepared for broad cooperation."

The Russian athletics federation (ARAF) will point out that its president Valentin Balakhnichev resigned after the ARD programme, and that there is a new Russian member on the IAAF council.

However, the ARAF's current interim president Vadim Zelichenok, who replaced Balakhnichev, was also criticised in the WADA report for not co-operating.

The threat to Russia being excluded from next year's Olympics in Rio appears to have receded, however. It is more likely the country will be given targets to meet, with perhaps the biggest threat being its hosting of the world junior championships in Kazan next year.

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