World Athletics Lifts Russian Ban for Doping but Suspension of Russian Athletes Remains

On March 23, 2023, World Athletics voted to lift a previously imposed 8-year ban on Russia from 2015. The decision was announced following three days of deliberation within the World Athletics Council in Monaco.

At the same time, the international federation has decided to maintain the exclusion of Russian athletes, support personnel, and officials from its World Athletics Series events due to the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine. The ban also extends to Belarusian athletes, support personnel, and officials.

World Athletics will strike a working group to come up with recommended conditions that would need to be met in order to lift the restrictions on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

In a news conference, Sebastian Coe, the president of the sports governing body stated:

“The death and destruction we have seen in Ukraine over the past year, including the deaths of some 185 athletes, have only hardened my resolve on this matter. The integrity of our major international competitions has already been substantially damaged by the actions of the Russian and Belarusian governments, through the hardship inflicted on Ukrainian athletes and the destruction of Ukraine's sports systems. Russian and Belarusian athletes, many of whom have military affiliations, should not be beneficiaries of these actions.”