World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said on Friday that World Athletics wouldn't consider the subject of Russian athletes competing only after it has been determined whether the nation has sufficiently cleaned up its act on doping to be reinstated.
The apex athletics body made it clear that the conflict of the Ukraine war is not even in question as the doping menace of Russia is the first criterion for them to come back.
Due to extensive doping in the country, the Russian Athletics Federation (RAF) has been banned from athletics since 2015; nonetheless, some Russian competitors were permitted to compete at the last two Summer Olympics as neutrals.
When the governing council meets next month to evaluate if the RAF has made enough progress along its "road map" to merit reinstatement, World Athletics President Coe said doping would still take precedence.
“The Council will discuss the roadmap for reinstatement but specifically around the egregious attack on the integrity of our sport through doping,” Coe told reporters at the world cross-country championships in Bathurst, New South Wales.
World Athletics banned Russian and Belarusian athletes last year, including a suspension of the option to compete as a neutral in the wake of military action in Ukraine.
The IOC has suggested that Russian and Belarusian athletes might compete in Asian qualifying events for the Paris Games. The IOC is desperately trying to prevent the Olympic movement from being split apart by the situation in Ukraine.
Nonetheless, the final say in which athletes can compete in Olympic Games qualifiers and in those events belongs to international federations like World Athletics.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is under fire for allowing athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus to compete at the Olympics in Paris the following year despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.
(With Agency Inputs)