Facing possible exile, Russia pledges to set up new anti-doping agency if Wada demands it
Hours before IAAF meeting to decide onOlympics exclusion, Mutko offers plan
Russia, accused of state-sponsored doping, have said they are ready to establish a new anti-doping agency hours before world athletics chiefs meet, with exclusion from the 2016 Olympics a potential long-term consequence for Moscow.
Sebastian Coe, the recently elected president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), will not be at the organisation's headquarters in Monaco, but will preside over a conference call of the body's 26 members from London.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said hours before the IAAF meeting that Moscow was ready to reform or "create a new anti-doping organisation" if the IAAF or the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) demanded it.
A simple majority is all that will be needed to confirm a suspension for Russia, who were accused of widespread doping by an independent commission set up by Wada in a report that has shaken track and field, one of the Olympics' flagship attractions.
The 335-page report also blasted Russian officials for blackmailing athletes to cover up positive tests as well as destroying test samples.
Although Russian officials are expected to offer an olive branch by admitting to some cases of cheating, the IAAF is under pressure to take strong action less than a year before the Rio Olympics Games.
Of the 26 members on the IAAF Council, nine are European.
"Europe will support Sebastian Coe. We have full confidence in him. We are all on the same page," Svein Arne Hansen, president of European Athletics, said.
However, one leading IAAF council member, legendary Ukraine pole-vaulter Sergei Bubka who lost out to Coe in the race for the organisation's top job, warned that it would be wrong to punish innocent athletes for the transgressions of others.
"All those involved, officials, managers or coaches, must pay the price," Bubka said. "But ordinary athletes, those who have nothing to do with this matter, should not have to miss a single competition."
The IAAF, he said, needed to take it "case by case, person by person".
On Thursday, acting president of Russia's athletics federation Vadim Zelichenok said that it had produced the response "in such a way as to try to prove our innocence".