An independent commission launched by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) should suspend Russia from competition. It has also recommended that five athletes - including Olympic 800m champion Mariya Savinova-Farnosova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova - and five coaches be handed lifetime bans as it reveals the damning details of its 11-month investigation into allegations of systemic doping.
In a lengthy 350-page report - part of which has been withheld as not to compromise an ongoing criminal investigation - released on 9 November that was initially sparked by a documentary broadcast in December 2014 by Germany's ARD entitled 'Top secret doping – how Russia makes its winners?', the commission claim to have discovered "a deeply rooted culture of cheating" that "at all levels is widespread and of long standing".
It is also claimed that the London 2012 Olympic Games were effectively sabotaged by athletes that may otherwise have been banned and that the Moscow anti-doping laboratory in question should be stripped of its accreditation. Director Grigory Rodchenko has been accused of intentionally ordering the destruction of 1,417 doping control samples last year, with calls for him to now be removed from his position.
Interpol have since released an official statement confirming that they responded to requests for assistance from the commission by "contacting national law enforcement agencies in countries where potential infractions had been identified in order to share intelligence". They further state that part of their cooperation included the facilitation of contact with French authorities who agreed to undertake an "international inquiry into allegations including active and passive corruption, money laundering and criminal conspiracy".
Perhaps the most concerning facet of the report comes with the suggestion that Russia may have been running a "state-supported" doping programme. As reported by the Associated Press, commission chairman Dick Pound does not think there is "any other possible conclusion".
Commenting on the report's shocking findings, newly-elected IAAF chief Seb Coe said: "The information in WADA's Independent Commission's Report is alarming. We need time to properly digest and understand the detailed findings included in the report. However, I have urged the Council to start the process of considering sanctions against ARAF.
"This step has not been taken lightly. Our athletes, partners and fans have my total assurance that where there are failures in our governance or our anti-doping programmes we will fix them. We will do whatever it takes to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust in our sport. The IAAF will continue to offer the police authorities our full co-operation into their ongoing investigation."
Earlier today, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ethics commission recommended that Coe's predecessor as IAAF president, 82-year-old Lamine Diack, be provisionally suspended as an honorary member of the organisation as he continues to be investigated over allegations that he accepted €1m in bribes to cover up positive tests.
The Wada commission's full report can be found here.