A file picture dated 23 February 2014 of the Olympic flag (L) and the Russian flag (R) during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia. File Photo: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE

Moscow - The acting head of Russia's Athletics Federation said on Sunday the sport's world governing body was punishing Russia to divert attention from its own failings, the state-owned R-Sport agency reported.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) voted overwhelmingly on Friday to suspend the Russian Athletics Federation from the sport following allegations of widespread and state-sponsored doping.

The allegations, by a special commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), could cost Russia its place at next year's Olympic Games in Rio.

“We understand that the publication of the second part of the WADA report will deal a serious blow to the IAAF. This partially explains such a tough decision with regard to Russia's Athletics Federation,” Vadim Zelichenok, the acting head of the Federation, was quoted by R-Sport as saying.

“It was intended to divert the blow from themselves,” he said.

Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Saturday Russia had told WADA that the IAAF was hiding doping cases.

Former IAAF president, Lamine Diack, is being investigated by French police over allegations he received bribes to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes.

The commission has so far withheld other aspects of the IAAF's actions regarding Russia as they form part of an investigation by Interpol into international corruption involving officials and athletes.

On Sunday, R-Sport quoted Mutko as saying there was an attempt to shift all blame to Russia.

“Russia is not the main problem in the world athletics. Yes, there are problems, we do not deny it, but the Russian problems did not begin in Russia. People have been playing by the rules established in the world athletics,” Mutko said.