Three senior IAAF officials, including the son of president Lamine Diack, have stepped down from their posts with athletics' world governing body pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of a cover-up of systematic doping in Russia.
Massata Papa Diack, who works for the IAAF as a marketing consultant, and IAAF legal adviser Habib Cisse have joined Valentin Balakhnichev, the president of the Russian athletics federation and the IAAF’s treasurer, in agreeing to step down, sources have confirmed to Press Association Sport.
It comes days after German television station ARD broadcast three documentaries alleging that the IAAF officials were implicated in covering up the doping in Russia.
The move comes after the IAAF’s executive board met on Wednesday - the governing body’s ethics committee is investigation the allegations.
The IAAF would not confirm the move, with a spokesman saying: “We cannot confirm this at the current time.”
Balakhnichev however has confirmed his decision to Russia’s TASS news agency and Press Association Sport understands Diack junior and Cisse have made similar offers to step aside.
Balakhnichev said he and the federation had been subjected to “brutal persecution” by the allegations.
ARD reported that three-time Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova paid €450,000 to the Russian athletics federation to avoid a doping ban - she was eventually banned for doping and she said some of the money was refunded.
ARD claimed it had evidence linking the €300,000 refund to Balakhnichev and that the Singapore-based company that allegedly made the payment was owned by a business partner of Massata Papa Diack.
The French sports daily L’Equipe has also raised questions about meetings in Moscow hotels in 2011 between Balakhnichev, Cisse and Massata Papa Diack.
Lamine Diack on Wednesday described as “ridiculous” a report that his son appeared to request a payment of $5m during Doha’s failed bid for the 2017 World Championships.
The Guardian has reported Massata Papa Diack, who holds the organisation’s marketing rights for a number of countries including Qatar, sent an email in 2011 asking for the payment.
The Qatar Athletics Federation told the Guardian it did not recognise the emails and had complied with all regulations.
Lamine Diack said the ethics commission would deal with the report.
He added in L’Equipe: “The Guardian said my son had tapped up Qatar for $5m for me to say we can hold the championships in September. That’s very over-priced - and it’s ridiculous because I had always answered ‘yes’ to this question anyway.”