The Latest: Russian officials, including Mutko, lobbying hard to avoid ban from track

The Latest from the IAAF investigation (all times local):


9 a.m.

Senior Russian officials have been lobbying hard in recent days as they try to avoid being banned from track and field.

Track's governing body will decide Friday on whether to suspend Russia, which could lead to a possible ban from next year's Olympic track events.

The most visible lobbyist is Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, Mutko told The Associated Press that he was in contact with IAAF President Sebastian Coe and the World Anti-Doping Agency, and he now says he will speak Friday with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

Bach also met Thursday evening in Switzerland with Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov, who has strong political connections in Russia.


8.30 a.m.

Russia is offering "broad cooperation" to reform its anti-doping operation as it tries to avoid a ban from Olympic track and field.

That's the message from Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko ahead of a key decision Friday on whether Russia should be barred from track and field competition because of its doping scandal.

Mutko, in comments to Russia's R-Sport agency, says "we are prepared to re-certify the laboratory, or to reform, or to create a new anti-doping organization, we're prepared for broad cooperation."

Ahead of Friday's decision as to whether Russia should be suspended from competition, the government has adopted a conciliatory tone while remaining critical of a World Anti-Doping Agency commission's report alleging a vast state-sponsored doping program.

On Thursday, Mutko told The Associated Press that Russia has no intention of boycotting next year's Olympics even if its track team is barred.