For­mer sprinter quits 2024 Games role amid cor­rup­tion probe

New Straits Times - - Sport -

I cat­e­gor­i­cally deny any di­rect or in­di­rect in­volve­ment in any un­to­ward con­duct and con­firm that I have never breached any law, reg­u­la­tion or rule of ethics in re­spect of any IOC elec­tion process.


FOR­MER sprinter Frankie Fred­er­icks quit as head of the IOC com­mis­sion mon­i­tor­ing can­di­dates for the 2024 Olympics on Tues­day amid a probe into money he ac­cepted from a sports mar­ket­ing chief ac­cused of cor­rup­tion.

Fred­er­icks, 49, strongly de­nied any wrong­do­ing in ac­cept­ing nearly US$300,000 (RM1.35 mil­lion) on the day that Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Olympics.

But he said he had “per­son­ally de­cided that it is in the best in­ter­ests of a good func­tion­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee can­di­da­ture process that I step aside as chair­per­son of the 2024 Eval­u­a­tion Com­mis­sion, be­cause it is es­sen­tial that the im­por­tant work my col­leagues are do­ing is seen as be­ing car­ried out in a truth­ful and fair man­ner.”

The Namib­ian ath­let­ics great went on: “I do not wish to be­come a dis­trac­tion from this great con­test.”

The IOC later said Switzer­land’s Patrick Bau­mann, the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the In­ter­na­tional Bas­ket­ball Fed­er­a­tion, had been named as Fred­er­icks’s re­place­ment.

The IOC are to de­cide in Septem­ber whether Los An­ge­les or Paris gets the 2024 Olympics. But the de­ci­sion faces greater scru­tiny be­cause of cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions over re­cent Olympics.

Fred­er­icks’s an­nounce­ment came one day af­ter he also stepped down as a mem­ber of an In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions

(IAAF) task force work­ing on get­ting dop­ing-tainted Rus­sia back into global sport.

Le Monde news­pa­per on Fri­day said Fred­er­icks, a four-time Olympic sil­ver medal­list, re­ceived nearly US$300,000 from Papa Mas­sata Di­ack, who is wanted in France on bribery charges.

Fred­er­icks re­ceived the sum from Pamodzi Sports Con­sult­ing, which is owned by Di­ack who, along­side his fa­ther and for­mer IAAF chief Lamine Di­ack, faces charges in France over mil­lions of dol­lars paid to cover up dop­ing fail­ures by Rus­sian ath­letes.

French in­ves­ti­ga­tors are also look­ing into the pos­si­bil­ity that bribes were paid over the award­ing of the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio and the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Three days be­fore the IOC awarded the Games to Rio on Oc­to­ber 2, 2009, Brazil­ian busi­ness­man Arthur Ce­sar Menezes Soares Filho paid US$1.5 mil­lion to Papa Mas­sata Di­ack.

An­other pay­ment of US$500,000 was made around the same time to an­other ac­count be­long­ing to Di­ack in Rus­sia. At the time Di­ack was a mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant to the IAAF, led by his fa­ther.

Fred­er­icks, a for­mer 200m world cham­pion, has said he had a con­sul­tancy deal with Di­ack’s firm.

“I cat­e­gor­i­cally deny any di­rect or in­di­rect in­volve­ment in any un­to­ward con­duct and con­firm that I have never breached any law, reg­u­la­tion or rule of ethics in re­spect of any IOC elec­tion process,” Fred­er­icks said in his state­ment.

“The ar­ti­cles do not only tar­get me, they tar­get the in­tegrity of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee bid­ding and elec­tions process for host cities al­to­gether.

“Of course all elec­tion pro­cesses should be seen to be free and fair. This is why I have been and am still ac­tively co­op­er­at­ing with the IOC Ethics Com­mis­sion in or­der for them to con­duct a proper and in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Fred­er­icks said he had made a state­ment to the IOC ethics com­mis­sion on the case and “will con­tinue to give my full co­op­er­a­tion to a proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion of these re­ports and then await the out­come of this in­de­pen­dent process.

“It is of course in my high­est in­ter­ests to clear my­self of the neg­a­tive in­sin­u­a­tions against me and my role within the IOC as soon as pos­si­ble in or­der to pre­vent any fur­ther dam­age to my rep­u­ta­tion and that of the IOC.”

The Namib­ian was one of the star sprint­ers of the 1990s.

Run­ning in the 100 me­tres and 200 me­tres, he won two sil­ver medals at the 1992 Olympics and two more at the 1996 Games. He is Namibia’s only Olympic medal win­ner.

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