Russia says it can’t afford to pay fine to World Athletics

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is expected to miss Wednesday’s deadline to pay a $5 million fine to the governing body of track and field.

Russian track federation president Yevgeny Yurchenko told the Tass state news agency on Wednesday that “the money, unfortunately, has not been found.”

World Athletics could suspend the “authorized neutral athlete” program, which allows Russians to enter international competitions even though their federation is suspended.

Russians with that status won six medals at last year’s world championships, including gold for Mariya Lasitskene in the high jump and for Anzhelika Sidorova in the pole vault.

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The World Athletics council is next due to meet July 29-30.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended, after the federation admitted that fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test. Russia also has to pay the cost for the investigation.

Yurchenko told Tass that World Athletics should take into account the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which he said had further damaged the Russian track federation’s finances.

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