Three senior IAAF officials banned for life for blackmail

‘They acted dishonestly and corruptly and did unprecedented damage to the sport’

An IAAF ethics commission banned for life former world body treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev and a son of former president Lamine Diack, Papa Massata Diack, over bribes taken to cover up doping failures by Russian athletes. Photograph: Getty Images

An IAAF ethics commission banned for life former world body treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev and a son of former president Lamine Diack, Papa Massata Diack, over bribes taken to cover up doping failures by Russian athletes. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Three senior IAAF officials have been banned for life for blackmailing athletes and covering up positive drugs tests.

Papa Massata Diack, the son of the then IAAF president Lamine Diack, Valentin Balakhnichev, former Russian athletic federation (ARAF) president and IAAF treasurer Alexei Melnikov, a senior ARAF coach, have all been handed lifetime bans.

Gabriel Dolle, who was the IAAF’s anti-doping director, has been given a five-year ban for his part in the doping scandal which has rocked world athletics.

Second Captains

The findings by the IAAF’s ethics commission lay bare the corruption involving the senior figures in athletics, with the trio found to have blackmailed Russian runner Liliya Shobukhova, London marathon winner in 2010, and made her pay a bribe for a positive drugs test to be covered up.

Lamine Diack, who was succeeded as president by Sebastian Coe in August, is himself under investigation by French police on suspicion of taking more than €1million to cover up positive tests.

The ethics commission’s findings state: “The head of a national federation, the senior coach of a major national team and a marketing consultant for the IAAF conspired together (and, it may yet be proven with others too) to conceal for more than three years anti-doping violations by an athlete at what appeared to be the highest pinnacle of her sport.

“All three compounded the vice of what they did by conspiring to extort what were in substance bribes from Liliya Shobukhova by acts of blackmail. They acted dishonestly and corruptly and did unprecedented damage to the sport of track and field which, by their actions, they have brought into serious disrepute.”

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