PtG Article 07.01.2016

IAAF hands out lifetime bans in doping cover-up case

Three officials get life bans for alleged conspiring in doping cover-ups, the IAAF ethics commission announces in a decision released today.

The Ethics Commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has released their deliberations after four IAAF officials appeared in a hearing held in London last month.

The officials under questioning were former IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dollé, former president of the All-Russian Athletics Federations (ARAF) and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, former ARAF chief coach for long-distance athletes Alexei Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack, former IAAF consultant and son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack. A part from Dollé, who got a five-year ban from the sport, all were banned for life, stated the decision relased today by the IAAF Ethics Commission.

“The Panel considers in the light of its findings that VB [Balakhnichev], AM [Melnikov] and PMD [Diack] should be banned for life from any further involvement in any way in the sport of track and field; any lesser sanction would not meet the gravity of their offences. In GD’s [Dollé's] case such ban is also appropriate but in his case for 5 years only; his sins were those of omission, not commission. The Panel hereby imposes these bans with effect from the date of this decision,” the ethics commission statement says.

The statement describes the the officials' alleged breaches and reveals a line of actions that “need no hyperbolic exaggeration”, the statement says.

“On the Panel’s findings 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. [...] 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."

In a response to the decision, IAAF president Sebastian Coe, who sent out a ‘road-map’ for the new IAAF yesterday, applauded the work of the ethics commission.

“I’d like to thank the independent IAAF Ethics Board for their diligent and detailed investigation. 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. We continue to work with the French authorities’ investigation and the WADA’s Independent Commission.”

The second report from WADA’s Independent Commission set up to investigate the validity of allegations made by ARD’s documentaries is due on 14 January and Richard W. Pound, who heads the commission, has promised a “wow-factor” when the findings are released.

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