World Anti-Doping Agency

Corruption went to the top at IAAF, says WADA

WADA report says corruption at the IAAF went to the top and included former president Lamine Diack

MUNICH, GERMANY (JANUARY 14, 2016) (REUTERS) – The former head of international athletics, Lamine Diack, organised “conspiracy and corruption” at the heart of the federation and sanctioned fraud and extortion of athletes, independent investigator Dick Pound said in a report released on Thursday (January 14).

Pound’s report added to a rapidly growing scandal involving organised doping and its concealment that has rocked world athletics and drawn comparison with a corruption and governance scandal at the global soccer federation, FIFA.

Pound found that Diack, a Senegalese who stepped down as president of the IAAF last year, had established his own “informal, illegitimate governance structure” at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

But the report said other senior staff “could not have been unaware” that normal procedures were being circumvented.

At a news conference in Munich, Germany, another panel member, Richard McLaren, outlined how corruption at the IAAF went to the highest level.

“The information the Independent Commission has very clearly indicates that the disruption of the federation emanated from the very top, the president, Lamine Diack,” he said. “He inserted his personal legal advisor Habib Cisse into the IAAF medical and anti doping department in November of 2011, with the London 2012 and Moscow 2013 Championships looming up. He did so to enable Cisse to manage and follow up Russian athlete biological passport cases.

“(The Russians) had mastered the evasion, manipulation and sometime destruction of urine samples of Russian athletes so as not to produce positive results. But they had not yet learned how to do the same for the ABP (Athlete Biological Passport). The deliberate insertion of Cisse, and his actions, were intended to achieve the same results of manipulation and delay with the ABP cases involving the Russians. The same result that had been achieved with the urine samples. After his insertion into the department he acted quickly to grasp exclusive control over the internal departmental procedures in relation to dealing with processing, notifying possible ABP and likely doping cases.”

McLaren added that Diack’s sons, Papa Massata and Khalil, were also involved in corruption, and said the awarding of major events could also come under scrutiny.

“That informal illegitimate governance process was enhanced and enlarged by contractual consultants who are the sons of the president,” he said. “Papa Massata Diack and Khalil Diack. Members of the informal, illegitimate governance group were engaged also to extort athletes. In addition the Independent Commission has information that members of this group also may have engaged in corruption related to the practices of awarding sponsorship and marketing rights, and the the process of selecting or not selecting, participating cities for the IAAF world championships.”

Pound, a former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), had already rocked global athletics in November with the first part of his report, which led to athletics superpower Russia being banned from international competition for state-sponsored doping.

“It was also apparent to the commission that the institutional knowledge with the problems of Russia was far wider than has been acknowledged, and the IAAF has displayed no genuine appetite to deal with the problems,” Pound added.

The IAAF’s own Ethics Commission subsequently banned former IAAF anti-doping chief Gabriel Dolle, two top Russian athletics officials and Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack for covering up a Russian runner’s positive dope test and for blackmailing her over it.

In a rare note of positivity, Pound did say that, corruption aside, the IAAF had attempted to address the issue of blood doping with the introduction of biological passports.

“The commission does not share the views expressed that the IAAF was inadequate in its responses to blood doping in the period under review,” he said. “Indeed in point of fact the IAAF was one the leaders in the development of the athlete blood passport.”

The furore has put huge pressure on Sebastian Coe, Diack’s successor who served as one of his vice presidents for seven years.

However, Pound expressed confidence in Coe’s ability to conduct the necessary reforms at the IAAF.

“There is an enormous amount of reputational recovery, and I can think of no one better than Lord Coe to lead that,” he said.

Allegations of corruption and money laundering linked to Russian athletes have also led French prosecutors to open a formal investigation against Diack.

As well as Lamine Diack, French prosecutors are investigating his lawyer Habib Cisse, his son Massata and Dolle. The prosecutors were due to give an update on their investigation after the WADA commission’s news conference.

Massata Diack, a former marketing executive for the IAAF, has denied wrongdoing on his own and his father’s behalf.