Corruption, Arrests, and Punishment

December 3rd, 2014—Germans ARD releases a scathing documentary entitled, “Top-Secret Doping: How Russia Makes its Winners’,” which shocks the international track and field community.

August 1st, 2015— ARD releases a follow-up documentary entitled, “Doping-Top Secret: The Shadowy World of Athletics’,” which continues to reveal the extent of drug use within the track and field community and the involvement of IAAF members.

On August 19th of 2015, native Senegalese and IAAF President Lamine Diack officially resigns amidst a global controversy and a perceived lack of accountability and oversight. Serving the IAAF as president since 1999, Diack worked to provide the organization with “long-term financial security” as well as international recognition and coverage. Under his watch, Diack strove to bring competitive track and field to communities outside of Europe—even securing the World Championships for the United States in 2021. Also occurring under his watch however, these recent revelations have cast doubt upon his personal legacy. When asked about the allegations and their possible implications, Diack stated—"I have said on many occasions that when the day comes where we no longer can believe what we see, then sport is dead.”

For Diack and the IAAF, that day may have already come.

Only months after his departure, Diack is arrested in France on “passive corruption and money laundering” charges. Stemming from an investigation by the French police and the World Anti-Doping Agency, Diack is suspected of having receiving over a million Euros from Russia in exchange for “cover[ing] up positive doping tests.” Diack is currently free on bail, but retained by court order to France.

"I have said on many occasions that when the day comes where we no longer can believe what we see, then sport is dead.”

In addition, Dr. Gabriel Dolle—the former IAAF director of the medical and anti-doping department and Habib Cisse—a legal advisor to Lamine Diack have also been placed under official investigation by the French police. Like Diack, Dolle and Cisse are also facing corruption charges.

In an official statement, the IAAF stated—

 “The IAAF is fully cooperating with all investigations as it has been from the beginning of the process. As part of the French investigation, police visited the IAAF HQ offices to carry out interviews and to access documentation.”

And what about Russia?

With a nearly unanimous 22-1 decision, the IAAF on November 13th of 2015 voted to “provisionally” suspend Russia from all competitions. Newly appointed IAAF President and former Vice President to Lamine Diack, Sebastian Coe, stated— “This has been a shameful wakeup call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated.”

Following the successful vote for provisional suspension, on November 26th, the “All-Russia Athletics Federation” officially declined to formally appeal and accepted an indefinite suspension. As stipulated by the IAAF, the suspension is deemed indefinite pending Russian cooperation and official inspections—

“[All-Russia Athletics Federation] confirmed they understand that council would only accept their reinstatement as an IAAF member following the recommendation of the IAAF inspection team, who will decide if the verification criteria have been met.”

In response to the allegations and a looming suspension, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated—

“It is essential that we conduct our own internal investigation and provide the most open – and I want to underline the most open – professional co-operation with international anti-doping structures.”

With a former president facing corruption charges and an entire country facing a possible Olympic absence, this scandal has quickly—and loudly— transformed into an international conflict.  As you will read, trust and honesty will continue to play an important role. In attempting to examine and understand the full scope of events, the IAAF also must strive to convince the public of its unwavering dedication to clean-athletics and fair competition.

References

Edwards, P. (2015, August 19). Lamine Diack: What has he achieved as IAAF chief? Retrieved from BBC News: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-33992915

Hayward, P. (2015, November 17). Doping scandal: Russia have been let off the hook by dirty backroom deal. Retrieved from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/athletics/12000881/Doping-scandal-Russia-have-been-let-off-the-hook-by-dirty-backroom-deal.html

Ingle, S. (2015, November 4). Lamine Diack, former IAAF head, under investigation in corruption and doping inquiry. Retrieved from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/nov/04/lamine-diack-investigation-iaaf-corruption-doping