Namib­ian un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion over sus­pi­cious pay­ments

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IOC mem­ber Frankie Fred­er­icks has stepped aside from an IAAF task force fol­low­ing a news­pa­per re­port that he re­ceived al­most US$300,000 (RM1.35 mil­lion) from dis­graced mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant Papa Mas­sata Di­ack, ath­let­ics’ world gov­ern­ing body said on Mon­day.

For­mer Slove­nia high jumper Ro­zle Prezelj has re­placed Fred­er­icks on the five-strong In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions’ task force, which is co­or­di­nat­ing the re-ad­mit­tance process re­gard­ing the sus­pended Rus­sian ath­let­ics’ fed­er­a­tion RUSAF, the IAAF state­ment added.

Last week the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee an­nounced an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­le­ga­tions con­cern­ing Namib­ian Fred­er­icks made in the French news­pa­per Le Monde, which also re­ported that vote buy­ing helped to se­cure the 2016 Rio Games.

Le Monde al­leged the money was paid via Di­ack’s com­pany, Pamodzi Sports Con­sult­ing, in 2009, the same day Rio was awarded the Olympics in a vote in which Fred­er­icks was a scru­ti­neer.

Fred­er­icks, one of the most se­nior fig­ure at the IAAF and IOC, said he had done noth­ing wrong in re­ceiv­ing the money from Di­ack, the son of for­mer IAAF pres­i­dent Lamine.

“I have de­cided to step aside from the task force so that the in­tegrity of its work is not ques­tioned due to the al­le­ga­tions made against me in Le Monde,”

Fred­er­icks was quoted as say­ing in Mon­day’s IAAF state­ment.

“It is im­por­tant that the task­force’s mis­sion is seen as free and fair with no out­side in­flu­ence.”

Fred­er­icks, a mul­ti­ple Olympic and world medal­list over 100 and 200 me­tres, said the US$300,000 was for “ser­vices ren­dered” to pro­mote the sport in Africa be­tween 2007 and 2011.

“The pay­ment has noth­ing what­so­ever to do with the Olympic Games and I was not an IAAF board mem­ber at the time and did not breach any reg­u­la­tion or rule of ethics,” he told Le


Papa Mas­sata Di­ack was banned for life from ath­let­ics last year over multi-mil­lion dol­lar cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.

He has de­nied any in­volve­ment in bribery or cor­rup­tion and said his fa­ther, who is await­ing trial in France on ag­gra­vated money laun­der­ing and cor­rup­tion charges, is also in­no­cent.

The IOC said in a state­ment on Fri­day: “As far as Mr Fred­er­icks is con­cerned, he in­formed the IOC and ex­plained the sit­u­a­tion and em­pha­sised his in­no­cence im­me­di­ately upon be­ing con­tacted by the journalist.”

IAAF pres­i­dent Sebastian Coe said in Mon­day’s state­ment that the task­force’s work was of “ut­most im­por­tance in re­build­ing con­fi­dence in Rus­sia whose na­tional sys­tem has failed the as­pi­ra­tions of clean ath­letes and the in­tegrity of com­pe­ti­tion.”

Rus­sian ath­letes were banned from in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Novem­ber 2015 af­ter an in­de­pen­dent World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) probe ex­posed state-spon­sored dop­ing on a mas­sive scale.

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