IAAF and Russia await report on blackmail, doping

AP , Monday 9 Nov 2015

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The credibility of the IAAF and sports in Russia will be on the line Monday when a report on extortion and doping cover-ups is published.

A World Anti-Doping Agency panel will publish its findings after already tipping off French prosecutors to investigate former IAAF President Lamine Diack.

Diack was put under criminal investigation last week on suspicion of corruption and money laundering amid allegations linking his sons to extorting money from athletes who tested positive for doping.

The WADA report is expected to refer to attempts to blackmail Olympic 1,500-meter champion Asli Cakir Alptekin of Turkey, months after she won the gold medal at the 2012 London Games. She was later banned for blood doping.

The three-member panel, chaired by former WADA president Dick Pound, will publish an interim report at a news conference in Geneva. It will not include the French case.

It should address claims of systematic doping in Russia implicating the national athletics federation, the WADA-accredited testing laboratory in Moscow and national anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA. Those three bodies are funded and overseen by Russia's government.

Panel member Richard McLaren, a Canadian lawyer and veteran sports law arbitrator, said the report will be ''a real game-changer for sport.''

WADA formed the independent inquiry after German broadcaster ARD aired a documentary - ''Top secret doping: How Russia makes its winners?'' - last December. The program implicated top Russian sports officials in acts of bribery to hush up positive doping tests, falsify tests and supply banned drugs.

ARD said former Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova paid 450,000 euros ($520,000) to Russian officials linked to then-IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, who threatened her with a doping ban before the London Games.

When Shobukhova was banned for two years in 2014, her husband reportedly received a 300,000 euro ($345,000) refund payment linked to Balakhnichev.

The German program also linked organized doping to Russian officials and athletes in swimming, cycling, biathlon, weightlifting and cross-country skiing.

The Pound report will deliver its findings nine months before the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where athletics is the marquee sport.

Russia has recently become a regular at hosting big sporting events. The 2013 athletics world championships were in Moscow, the 2014 Winter Olympics were in Sochi, and this year's swimming worlds were in Kazan.

The Moscow lab oversaw testing for those events and is scheduled to lead the anti-doping program for FIFA when Russia hosts the 2018 World Cup.

 (For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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