Doping Claims: Ex-Athletics Boss Suspended

Sky News

The former president of the international athletics association is to be suspended from his position as an honorary member of the International Olympics Committee.

Lamine Diack was placed under criminal investigation in France last week, accused of accepting bribes to cover up doping.

The IOC has now tweeted: "IOC Ethics Commission recommends provisional suspension of Mr Lamine Diack as Honorary Member of the IOC."

It comes moments ahead of a news conference in which the findings of a report into doping in world athletics is expected to reveal that officials tried to extort money from athletes in return for concealing failed drug tests.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is releasing its report from 2pm in Geneva.

It is expected to detail corruption inside the sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Leaks from the WADA report to the French news organisation Mediapart say officials attempted to extort money from athletes, including a Turkish Olympic champion.

A co-author of the report, Richard McLaren, told The Sunday Times the report will be a "real game-changer", adding it will reveal corruption on a "whole different scale... than the FIFA scandal".

"Here you potentially have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of extra money in their pockets - through extortion and bribes - but also caused significant changes to actual results and final standings of international athletics competitions," Mr McLaren said.

Two other former-IAAF officials are under investigation in France, along with Mr Diack.

Mr Diack's successor, Lord Sebastian Coe, has described corruption claims levelled against world athletics as "abhorrent" , adding that the sport faces a "long road to redemption".

Lord Coe said: "These are dark days for our sport, but I'm more determined than ever to rebuild the trust. It is not going to be a short journey.

"I am determined to rebuild and repair the sport with my colleagues, but this is a long road to redemption."

Mediapart claims the WADA report will implicate relatives of Diack.

The report is also expected to single out the former Russian athletics federation head Valentin Balakhnichev.

Balakhnichev has rejected claims his federation worked with senior IAAF offiials to blackmail athletes in the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympics.

Reuters reported that the Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova was among the athletes targeted for extortion.

Shobukhova was banned for doping and stripped of victories in London and Chicago. Two months ago her ban was cut, with WADA saying she had provided information exposing wrongdoing by others.

Turkey's Asli Cakir Alptekin, who won gold in the 1,500 metres at the London Olympics, was also approached by IAAF officials demanding payment of $500,000, according to Mediapart.

Speaking ahead of the report's release, the sports law expert Peter Charlish told Sky News: "There is a very large perception I think among the general population that doping is rife, certainly in things like athletics and cycling.

"Cycling has obviously now tried to clean itself up. Athletics had the major problems, in particular with the East German doping many years ago.

"We had the Ben Johnson scandal. So I think there is a perception amongst the public that doping continues to be rife."

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