Four officials face IAAF doping cover-up hearing

The four officials, none of whom are expected to attend the private three-day hearing, include former IAAF consultant Papa Massata Diack.

Four officials face IAAF doping cover-up hearing

Four senior athletics officials were due to appear before the IAAF`s ethics commission in London on Wednesday accused of covering up doping offences.

The four officials, none of whom are expected to attend the private three-day hearing, include former IAAF consultant Papa Massata Diack, the son of the organisation`s former president Lamine Diack.

The others are ex-IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle, former Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) president and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev and the ARAF`s former long-distance athletics coach Alexei Melnikov.

The four men are charged with breaching the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) code of ethics and could face lifetime bans. A decision is expected in early January.

The hearing takes place against the backdrop of a French probe into allegations that high-ranking IAAF officials received bribes in return for concealing positive drugs tests by athletes.

Lamine Diack is accused of receiving over one million euros ($1.1 million) in bribes, while Pape Massata Diack, Dolle and Balakhnichev are also under investigation.

The charges stem from claims by Russian runner turned whistle-blower Liliya Shobukhova, a former London marathon winner, that she paid around $600,000 for doping violations to be covered up.

Shobukhova had a 38-month suspension reduced by seven months after she agreed to testify to the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA).

The ethics commission panel will be chaired by Michael Beloff QC, a leading English barrister.

"A hearing has been fixed to take place in London over 16-18 December 2015, to consider the cases against them, including their defences and evidence to be provided by or on their behalf," Beloff said in a statement last month.

"In accordance with the rules of the ethics commission the hearing will be held in private."

The IAAF, world athletics` governing body, has banned Russia from international competition after a report by WADA`s independent commission found evidence of "state-sponsored doping".

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