The Sports highest tribunal Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) imposed life bans on three top athletics officials over an alleged doping cover-up.
Son of IAAF ex-president Lamine Diack, Papa Massata Diack, former head of the Russian athletics federation, Valentin Balakhnichev and the country’s former head distance coach, Alexei Melnikov, had their appeals dismissed.
They were charged in December 2015 with multiple breaches of anti-doping rules relating to Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova.
“The IAAF Ethics Commission decision is confirmed and Valentin Balakhnichev, Alexei Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack remain banned for life from any involvement in the sport of athletics,” said CAS in announcing its verdict on Monday.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it welcomed the Cas ruling and IAAF president, Lord Coe added: “The ruling sends a clear message that anyone who attempts to corrupt our sport will be brought to justice.”
In a 170-page report, the independent IAAF ethics commission panel ruled Diack, Balakhnichev and Melnikov conspired to “blackmail” Shobukhova to cover up her doping violations by her paying them “bribes” of about £435,000.
Diack and Balakhnichev, a former president of the Russian athletics federation and IAAF treasurer, were fined £17,000 while Russian coach Melnikov was fined £10,000.
In December, Diack told reporters that he totally rejects the blackmail allegations, saying: “There was no extortion of funds from any athlete.”