France has issued two arrest warrants as part of an investigation into a alleged doping cover-up. The warrants were issued to two former Russian athletics officials: Valentin Balakhnichev, a former head of Russian athletics, and Alexei Melnikov, an ex-Russian national team coach. Both men were banned from athletics for life in 2016 after widespread, state-sponsored Russian doping was uncovered. Russia was suspended from the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2015 after the scandal. Some Russians have been permitted to compete under a neutral flag if they can prove they have not been involved in any doping. The investigation began in November 2015 when the IAAF chief was charged with accepting millions of dollars to cover up doping by Russian athletes.