Russian athletics federation board resigns amid doping stalemate

Newly appointed sports minister Oleg Matytsin said the ‘crisis in Russian athletics has gone on for five years and it has gone on too long.’ (AP)
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Updated 04 February 2020

Russian athletics federation board resigns amid doping stalemate

  • Russia has been suspended since 2015 over a doping scandal
  • Time is running out for Russia’s athletes, who risk missing their second Olympic Games since 2016

MOSCOW: The entire board of Russia’s athletics federation has resigned as the government attempts to find a way out of the country’s deepening doping crisis before this year’s Olympic Games.
The federation (RUSAF) and the Russian sports ministry announced late Monday that the board was handing over its powers to a working group within the Russian Olympic Committee as all of its members resign.
The decision has been made “as RUSAF activities have not led to the reinstatement of the federation in World Athletics,” and to “ensure participation of clean Russian athletes in international and Russian competition,” the joint statement said.
“It’s clear that the crisis in Russian athletics has gone on for five years and it has gone on too long,” Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin, who was appointed last month, was quoted as saying.
Russia has been suspended since 2015 over a doping scandal and was fighting for readmission to the global athletics body.
But the readmission process was suspended last year as Russia was accused of obstructing a probe into high jumper Danil Lysenko.
World Athletics also stopped reviewing which Russians can compete as neutrals with less than six months to go before Tokyo 2020.
Both RUSAF and the former sports minister denied any wrongdoing.
Frustration with RUSAF reached boiling point after the Athletics Integrity Union last week accused Russia of serious violations and recommended “severest possible consequence” but the federation once again protested total innocence.
Under new minister Matytsin, Russia has to provide World Athletics with an answer on the Lysenko probe by February 10, TASS agency reported.
On Tuesday a commission of athletes in RUSAF, including world champions high jumper Maria Lasitskene and hurdler Sergei Shubenkov, said disbanding the board was “the only right decision and crucial to return Russian athletics into the global sports community.”
Time is running out for Russia’s athletes, who risk missing their second Olympic Games since 2016.


Liverpool’s Mane sinks 10-man Chelsea, Son hits four in Spurs rout

Updated 20 September 2020

Liverpool’s Mane sinks 10-man Chelsea, Son hits four in Spurs rout

  • Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool exploited Chelsea’s frailties to win 2-0
  • Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen was sent off at the end of the first half for hauling down Mane

LONDON: Sadio Mane tormented Chelsea as the Liverpool forward struck twice after sparking Andreas Christensen’s dismissal in the champions’ 2-0 win, while Son Heung-min scored four as Tottenham crushed Southampton 5-2 on Sunday.
Mane was involved in the turning point at Stamford Bridge as the first clash between Premier League title contenders this season swung Liverpool’s way.
In first half stoppage-time, Jordan Henderson picked out Mane’s run behind Christensen and the Denmark defender responded by rugby-tackling the Senegal star to the ground.
Referee Paul Tierney initially booked Christensen, but VAR told him to consult the pitchside monitor and he changed his decision to a red card.
Mane grabbed his first goal of the season in the 50th minute as he met Roberto Firmino’s cross with a thumping header after eluding Reece James’ slack marking.
Mane was gifted his second goal as Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made a hash of trying to play out from the back, allowing the Liverpool forward to intercept and slot into the empty net.
It was the latest costly blunder from Kepa, who was dropped twice by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard last season despite his status as the world’s most expensive keeper.
Lampard will be relieved that Chelsea are reportedly close to signing Rennes’ Senegal international Edouard Mendy as he looks to replace Kepa.
“It was a clear mistake and Kepa accepted that,” Lampard said.
Thiago Alcantara made his Liverpool debut at half-time after his move from Bayern Munich, but the Spain midfielder conceded a 74th minute penalty with a foul on Timo Werner.
Alisson Becker came to Thiago’s rescue as he saved Jorginho’s spot-kick.
After their chaotic 4-3 win over Leeds on the opening weekend, this was a return to the kind of dominant display Liverpool produced so often en route to their first English title for 30 years last season.
“Chelsea were the dominant side without goals but then a massive game-changer which was good for us,” Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said.
“After the red card, the second half is a different game. We kept the ball rolling, let them run, scored the goals. Everybody had a hand in the result.”
While Chelsea have spent £200 million ($258 million) on new signings in a bid to close the gap on the champions, Liverpool remain streets ahead of the Blues at present.
“The red card changes the face of the game. I think it could be given or not,” Lampard said.
At St. Mary’s, Jose Mourinho hailed Son and Harry Kane after the pair destroyed Southampton.
Just 24 hours after Tottenham signed Gareth Bale, Son delivered a virtuoso display that showed Mourinho’s side already have plenty of firepower.
Bale has returned to Tottenham on a season-long loan from Real Madrid seven years after he left the north London club.
Danny Ings put Southampton ahead in the first half, but Son equalized before the break and scored three more in the second half, with each of his goals coming from Kane assists.
Kane, who hit the back of the net twice in the first half only to have them ruled out for offside, capped a swaggering display with his second goal of the season.
“Son was on fire and for me Harry Kane was the man of the match, what he did for the team,” said Mourinho, whose side had lost their league opener against Everton.
“With him dropping back and connecting the game between the lines for Sonny to attack, the space they created was a problem they couldn’t resolve.”
Neal Maupay’s quick-fire double inspired Brighton’s 3-0 win against Newcastle as the Seagulls claimed their first Premier League victory of the season.
Graham Potter’s side raced into a two-goal lead after just seven minutes at St. James’ Park thanks to the brace from French striker Maupay.
Aaron Connolly grabbed the third for Brighton, who had Yves Bissouma sent off after his raised boot caught Jamal Lewis in the face.