DENVER – The leader of the track’s governing body told a lawyer he’d need to cut a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure nine Russian athletes accused of doping wouldn’t compete at 2013 world championships in Moscow, according to a new report on the scandal that reached the top of the sport and country.
Details of the 89-page investigation, to be released by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Thursday, were provided to The Associated Press early by a person who had reviewed it. The person did not want to be identified because the report had not been publicly released.
The report, written by WADA’s first president, Dick Pound, says the IAAF must restructure to ensure corruption cannot go unchecked. The corruption “cannot be blamed on a small number of miscreants,” Pound wrote.
“The corruption was embedded in the organization,” the report says. “It cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting on his own.”
The report comes a day after the AP released details from six years of IAAF internal emails, reports and notes showing a high level of communication between the athletics federation and Russian officials about suspicious test results from the nation’s athletes, including plans to cover up some doping evidence.
In addition to the deal-making friendship forged between Putin and then-IAAF president Lamine Diack, the report details a sudden increase from $6 million to $25 million for Russian rights to televise the 2013 worlds provided by a Russian bank, and also tells of a lawyer who was handpicked by Diack to handle Russian cases even though he had little experience with anti-doping measures.
It concludes there was no way members of the IAAF Council, which included current president Sebastian Coe, could have been unaware of the extent of doping and non-enforcement of the rules in track.
Pound details meetings between Diack and IAAF lawyer Huw Roberts, who delivered details of the nine Russian doping cases directly to Diack and asked how he planned to resolve them.
With no resolution coming, Diack explained to Roberts “he was in a difficult position that could only be resolved by President Putin of Russia with whom he had struck up a friendship,” the report said.
Eventually, the report says, none of the nine athletes competed in Moscow, but their cases were not further pursued by the IAAF. Those delays led to Roberts’ resignation in January 2014.
By then, according to the report’s details, Roberts had virtually no control over cases involving Russians.
In November 2011, Diack turned over responsibility for Russian cases involving biological passport blood tests to his personal lawyer, Habib Cisse.
Cisse is under investigation in France for corruption. Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, has been banned from track for life. Papa Massata and another of Diack’s sons, Khalil, both had IAAF jobs outside the official framework of the federation that set them up to execute all the fraud, the report said.
The report details a 2012 meeting at a Moscow hotel involving a Russian TV advisor, Papa Massata Diack, Cisse and Russian athletics federation head Valentin Balakhnichev, who was also honorary treasurer of the IAAF. The meeting was set to resolve a “problem” with the $6 million price tag for the Russian TV rights to the following year’s world championships.
After the meeting, Papa Massata Diack had an arrangement with a leading Russian bank worth $25 million.
Pound called for the IAAF to undertake forensic examination of how the TV rights were awarded to determine if there were any improprieties.
This was the second of two reports from Pound. His previous report, released in November, detailed corruption in Russia. Since then, the country’s track team has been suspended, along with its antidoping agency and the Moscow antidoping lab.
Together the report and other recent revelations indicate that many officials inside the IAAF, which announced the ban of Russian athletes in November, were aware of the growing Russian doping problem for years before taking action against the nation, and some may have been actively covering up Russian wrongdoing. Coe, already facing criticism for his close relationship with Nike, will have to persuade the public that he was not involved in the broad co-operation with Russia.
© 2016 The Canadian Press