MONACO -- There will be no decision before February on whether Russia has done enough for its track and field athletes to be allowed back into international competition, the head of a taskforce monitoring the country's anti-doping efforts said on Thursday.
Russia has made progress, but the taskforce wants to return to Moscow in January, and also is waiting for a report next week that is expected to detail how Russian officials subverted anti-doping controls at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, said Rune Andersen, a Norwegian anti-doping expert.
RUSAF, the Russian Athletics Federation, has been suspended since November 2015, after a damning World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned report detailed the deep-rooted culture of doping and deception in Russian sports. To lift the ban, Russia must satisfy a detailed list of requirements laid out by the IAAF.
Andersen said he told an IAAF council meeting in Monaco this week that "RUSAF has made further progress toward satisfying the reinstatement conditions."
But he also said he would be reporting back to the IAAF at its next council meeting in February -- effectively delaying until then, at the earliest, a recommendation on whether Russia has done enough for the IAAF to consider allowing Russian athletes to compete again.
The taskforce hopes by February "to be able to identify a clear roadmap and timetable for RUSAF's reinstatement," Andersen said.
After a tumultuous year dominated by the Russian doping crisis and revelations of suspected corruption under his predecessor Lamine Diack, IAAF President Sebastian Coe wants to turn a corner this weekend with the hoped-for adoption of broad changes to the way the athletics body handles doping cases and governs itself.
"I do not want this sport to ever return to the grotesque stories that, even over the last few days, we have been waking up to," Coe said.
A special IAAF Congress will vote on Saturday on reforms that Coe has championed.
"This is a moment to be bold," he said. "Clean athletes have to know that we are in their corner."