IAAF president Seb Coe delivers the verdict
Thursday, January 7, 2016
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, former Russian athletic federation [ARAF] president and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, and senior ARAF coach Alexei Melnikov 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.
CLICK ABOVE to hear two-time Olympic champion Daley Thompson’s reaction to the news
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 Lord Coe in August, is himself under investigation by French police on suspicion of taking more than one million euros [£746,000] to cover up positive tests.
The IAAF said it was “angered” that its former officials had blackmailed Shobukhova and that they were no longer involved with the organisation.
A statement said: “The IAAF is angered to see that individuals have in the panel’s finding ‘conspired to extort what were in substance bribes from the athlete by acts of blackmail’.
“The IAAF has already introduced corrective measures to make sure this sort of interference can’t happen again.
“These four individuals who have been found guilty and sanctioned are no longer associated with the IAAF in any capacity.”
Coe added: “The life bans announced today could not send a stronger message that those who attempt to corrupt or subvert the sport of athletics will be brought to justice.”