New Delhi: In a landmark step, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Thursday handed bans to four individuals, including life ban to the son of former president Lamine Diack, for their alleged roles in doping cover-ups.
The world governing body for the sport of athletics released a statement saying, Papa Massata Diack -- former IAAF consultant, Valentin Balakhnichev -- former Russian federation president and IAAF treasurer, and Alexei Melnikov -- Russian federation’s former chief coach for long-distance athletes, have been banned from the sport for life, while former IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle was served a five-year ban.
The statement read, "A panel of the IAAF Ethics Board (formerly Commission) has today delivered its decision concerning four persons, namely: Papa Massata Diack, former marketing consultant to the IAAF, Valentin Balakhnichev, former President of the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF), Alexei Melnikov, former Chief ARAF Coach for long distance walkers and runners, and Gabriel Dollé, former Director of the IAAF’s Anti-Doping Department, for various breaches of the IAAF Code of Ethics."
"This investigation commenced in April 2014 upon referral of a complaint to the Ethics Board by a member of the IAAF staff.
"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.” This is all the more so because these breaches are related to one doping case which, among others, was identified and pursued by the IAAF Anti-Doping Department. Ultimately, the Department was able to ensure that the athlete concerned received a lengthy ban, but the four individuals' activities delayed that outcome. 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. The IAAF is reassured that the panel of the Ethics Board has seen no evidence implicating any other members of the IAAF Anti-Doping Department who continue their ground-breaking work on the Athlete Biological Passport programme with WADA."
IAAF President Sebastian Coe commented: “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.”