Taylor Hooton Foundation > Hoot’s Corner > General > Report Is Expected to Detail Corruption in World Track and Field
January 13, 2016
Report Is Expected to Detail Corruption in World Track and Field

A report to be released Thursday is expected to describe bribery and corruption at the highest levels of international track and field, two months after the sport was shaken by revelations of a state-sponsored doping system in Russia that implicated athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors, laboratories and the country’s antidoping authorities.

The report is the second installment from a commission appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate allegations of widespread doping in track and field. According to people familiar with the report, the new findings are expected to focus on top global officials in the sport who have been accused of blackmailing athletes who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The first part of the commission’s investigation, made public in November, centered on Russia. The resulting 323-page report resulted in Russia’s beingsuspended from global track and field competition, jeopardizing its participation in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A Moscow laboratory that handled drug testing during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 also lost its accreditation as a result of the report, and Interpol, the international police organization, announced a global investigation into corruption within the sport.

The findings to be announced Thursday are expected to extend beyond Russia.

The commission’s investigation was inspired by reports from the German public broadcaster ARD, which released a documentary in December 2014 focused on doping in Russian athletics.

In August, ARD and The Sunday Times of London released a second report regarding the leaked results of thousands of blood tests of international athletes dating to 2001. Those results reportedly included celebrated athletes with abnormal drug test results, prompting the antidoping commission to widen the focus of its inquiry.

In its expanded investigation, the commission reviewed those suspicious test results and scrutinized how vigilant track and field’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, had been in following up on them and disciplining athletes when warranted.

Lamine Diack, the longtime president of the I.A.A.F. until August, is expected to be central to the commission’s investigation. Mr. Diack, of Senegal, is under criminal investigation in France, suspected of money laundering and soliciting and accepting bribes, the French authorities have said.

Also under investigation in France are Habib Cisse, Mr. Diack’s legal adviser, and Gabriel Dollé, a former director of the antidoping division at track and field’s governing body.

Perhaps pre-emptively, the I.A.A.F. announced last week that it had imposed bans from the sport on Mr. Dollé; Mr. Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing consultant to the organization; Valentin Balakhnichev, a former president of the All-Russia Athletic Federation; and Alexei Melnikov, a former Russian coach for long-distance walkers and runners. The I.A.A.F. said the four had conspired to blackmail athletes.

Sebastian Coe, Mr. Diack’s successor as the I.A.A.F.’s president, said in a statement that in the new year he would be focused on rebuilding public trust. Mr. Coe, who worked directly under Mr. Diack for seven years, said that a team of outside lawyers and accountants had been hired to conduct a “forensic review of operations and finance” and that there would be a more vigilant vetting process for track and field officials by mid-2016.

Mr. Coe also said he planned to double the I.A.A.F.’s antidoping budget, to $8 million, from $4 million, by midyear.

“I represent a sport under intense scrutiny,” Mr. Coe said in a statement. “Be under no illusion about how seriously I take these issues.”

On Tuesday, The Associated Press published a report saying that in 2009, six years before the commission accused Russia of systemic doping, officials at track and field’s governing body were aware of pervasive drug abuse in the country and considered helping Russia hide the extent of its cheating leading up to the 2012 London Olympics. The report was based on I.A.A.F. internal documents obtained by The Associated Press; The New York Times was unable to determine their veracity.

This week, I.A.A.F. officials met with the Olympic Committee of Russia, the I.A.A.F. said Tuesday. The officials are evaluating Russia’s progress in improving antidoping controls to fulfill criteria that would allow it to re-enter international competition.

Speaking in Geneva in November while outlining the doping allegations against the Russian Federation, Dick Pound, the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and the chairman of the commission that produced the November report and the one expected Thursday, said that Russia had many improvements to make.

“The idea is not to exclude people from the Olympics if you can avoid that,” Mr. Pound said. “But sometimes, if the conduct is not corrected, that’s the price you pay for it.”

Thursday’s announcement, to be made by Mr. Pound and the two other members of the commission — Richard H. McLaren, a Canadian lawyer, and Günter Younger, the head of cybercrime for the police in the German state Bavaria — will take place in Munich.