Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Nick Davies, Director of the International Associations of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President’s Office, has stepped aside pending an IAAF Ethics Commission investigation into emails in which he suggests delaying announcing Russian doping positives until after the Moscow 2013 World Championships. In the emails, published by Le Monde on Monday, Davies (pictured, left) also suggests how the IAAF might stop any ‘planned attack’ on Russia from the British press. The emails also suggest that the IAAF was holding back on announcing a number of Russian doping positives in 2013, and that it chose when to announce doping positives based on minimising reputational damage.
In a statement (see below), Davies said that he had referred all emails sent to Papa Massata Diack in 2013, all statements he has made on the issue and the circumstances of the case to the IAAF Ethics Commission, which will decide whether he has breached the IAAF Code of Ethics. It has been alleged that the emails were leaked to Le Monde by Diack, son of Lamine Diack, who was replaced as IAAF President by Sebastian Coe in August. Both Lamine and Papa Massata Diack are understood to be under investigation by Interpol concerning ‘active and passive corruption, money laundering and criminal conspiracy’.
In the emails, marked ‘secret’, Davies suggests launching an unofficial PR campaign to ‘ensure that we avoid international media scandals related to the Moscow Championships’. He suggests using CSM, a sports marketing company Chaired by Sebastian Coe to do this, in order to ‘benefit from Seb’s political influence in the UK’. He also says that he needs to sit down with the IAAF’s Anti-Doping Department to understand exactly what ‘Russian “skeleton” we still have in the cupboard regarding doping’.
The email also suggests that the IAAF was holding back on announcing a number of Russian doping positives in 2013. ‘I think that the time to have unveiled the various athletes was a long time ago and now we need to be smart’, writes Davies. ‘These athletes, of course, should not be part of any Russian team for these World Championships and Valentin [Balakhnichev, who resigned as Russian athletics federation President in February] should be pressured to make sure that this is the case.
It also suggests that the IAAF chose when to announce doping positives based on minimising reputational damage. ‘If the guilty ones are not competing then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them’, writes Davies. ‘Or we announce one or two but at the same time as athletes from other countries. Also we can prepare a special dossier on IAAF testing which will show that one of the reasons why these Russian athletes come up positive is that they get tested a lot!!! In the same way, we can make the point that the WADA laboratory is the responsibility of WADA not IAAF and that if WADA decides there really is a problem, we have a plan B to do the tests in Lausanne instead (Gabriel [Dollé, former Director of the IAAF’s Medical & Anti-Doping Department] confirmed this to me yesterday).’
Dollé resigned from the IAAF in December 2014, but was taken into custody by French police in November 2015 along with Lamine Diack and his Legal Adviser, Habib Cissé. The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked the IAAF Ethics Commission when it plans to announce the results of its inquiry into Davies’s emails to Papa Massata Diack, however has yet to receive a reply – the IAAF offices are closed for Christmas.