Sports Law- Understanding the rules on the participation of Neutral Athletes in international sporting events- Anthony Atata
In March 2021 the World Athletics reinstated the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) programme. On the 30th of April, it announced the approval of the applications of four Russian athletes to compete in international competition as neutral athletes in 2021 under Rule 3.2 of the Eligibility Rules. The four Russians namely Mariya Lasitskene (High Jump), Anzhelika Sidorova (Pole Vault),Ilia Ivaniuk (High Jump), Aksana Gataullina (Pole Vault) accordingly met the exceptional eligibility criteria for 2021.
These players will be able to compete in International events while the Russian national federation (RusAF) remains suspended.
World Athletics, suspended RusAF’s membership in November 2015, following a wave of anti-doping rules violations. However in 2017 it began to allow clean athletes from Russia to participate in international tournaments under the neutral status or the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF is reinstated.
Under rule 3.1.1 of the World Athletics eligibility rules, any athlete whose member Federation is currently suspended by World Athletics is ineligible for International and domestic competitions.
However rule 3.2 provides that upon application, the council may exceptionally grant eligibility for some or all International competitions ,under conditions defined by the council to an athlete whose member Federation is currently suspended by World Athletics, if the athlete is able to demonstrate to the comfortable satisfaction of the Council that: the suspension of the Member Federation was not due in any way to its failure to protect and promote clean athletes, fair play, and the integrity and authenticity of the sport; or 3.2.2 if the suspension of the Member Federation was due in any way to its failure to put in place adequate systems to protect and promote clean athletes, fair play, and the integrity and authenticity of the sport.
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