Lamine Diack’s son suspended by IAAF

The IAAF has issued lifetime bans to three senior officials, including the son of former president Lamine Diack.

Marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack, former All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) president Valentin Balakhnichev and ex-ARAF coach Alexei Melnikov have all been served with the permanent suspensions.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Dolle, the former director of the IAAF’s anti-doping department, has been given a five-year ban.

The four men were charged by the IAAF’s Ethics Board with breaches of its Code of Ethics last month, having been subject to disciplinary hearings after their alleged involvement in a doping cover-up relating to Russian London Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova.

An IAAF statement read: “The Panel considers in the light of its findings that VB, AM and PMD 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 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.”

Diack, Balakhnichev and Melnikov have also been served with fines.

Responding to the ruling, the IAAF said in a statement: “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.”

New IAAF president Sebastian Coe, who this week revealed the organisation’s “road map” to rebuilding trust in the governing body, added: “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.”

ARAF was suspended from competition by the IAAF in November amid allegations of state-sponsored doping made in a report published by an independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Shobukhova, a three-time winner of the Chicago Marathon, was handed a two-year doping ban – backdated to January 2013 – in April 2014, before having the suspension extended by 14 months the following August.

However, the sanction was reduced by seven months last August after she helped authorities uncover other drugs cheats.

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