The Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, has backed the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) recent decision that Russian athletes will remain banned from international competitions.

The IAAF maintained their ban, in place since 2015, in an attempt to encourage Russia to fully co-operate with reform of a state anti-doping system that had facilitated widespread cheating by Russian athletes.

Mr Treacy said: "The decision taken by the IAAF is an important one for the integrity of sport.

"Through its President Sebastian Coe, the IAAF has shown great leadership in how it has handled what is a very difficult situation. This decision puts the interests of the clean athletes first which is vitally important; all clean deserve to know they are competing on a fair and level playing field.

"At the recent Washington Anti-Doping Summit in the White House we heard first-hand from athletes of their own personal devastation after being beaten by athletes using PIEDs.

"Those clean athletes do not receive the rightful recognition for their hard work and sacrifice. These are people we are all duty bound to protect, respect and listen to, and the IAAF is playing a leading role in this."

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) controversially reinstated the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in September, on the condition that the latter provide full access to stored urine samples in its  Moscow laboratory by the end of the year and recognise the 2016 report that revealed the extent of Russia's state-sponsored doping.

Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May, added: "In its report to the IAAF Council, the IAAF Russia Taskforce references its disappointment that Russia has still not recognised the findings of the McLaren Report – one of the two criteria in WADA’s own ‘Roadmap to Compliance’ which remain outstanding.

Sport Ireland shares the view of many athletes and National Anti-Doping Organisations that all aspects of the Roadmap need to be implemented and I commend the IAAF for maintaining a firm stance on this."