8th April 2016

IAAF dismisses Athletics Kenya CEO’s suspension challenge

The Ethics Board of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has dismissed a challenge by Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi against his provisional suspension for allegedly soliciting bribes from athletes accused of doping. Mwangi was provisionally suspended on 22 February on the basis of an Associated Press article, in which Joy Sakari and Francisca Koki Manunga alleged that Mwangi had asked them for 2.5 million Kenyan shillings (€21,700) each in order to influence the penalties they would receive following positive doping tests.

Both athletes were provisionally suspended in August last year and were sanctioned with four-year bans on 27 November. At the time, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it was ‘extremely troubled’ by the allegations.

‘We do not consider that Mr. Mwangi has identified anything (by way of evidence or analysis) which sufficiently undermines the prima facie case – i.e. which in effect acts as a ‘knock out blow’, read the Ethics Board decision (published below). Mwangi had argued that as the athletes had waived their right to analysis of their B sample, they could not have avoided a four-year ban. However, the Ethics Commission found this argument ‘not wholly convincing’.

Interestingly, Mwangi accuses that Ethics Board of ‘double standards’. He pointed out that IAAF President Sebastian Coe was not provisionally suspended after it appeared that he had given untrue evidence to the UK Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee. He also pointed out that the Ethics Board did not suspend Nick Davies, who stepped aside pending an investigation into leaked emails in which he suggests delaying the announcement of Russian doping positives until after the Moscow 2013 World Championships. Mwangi pointed out that he has stepped aside and that Athletics Kenya are investigating the allegations.

‘We emphasise that it would be unacceptable to treat Mr Mwangi more harshly than other more senior individuals within the IAAF Family, a fortiori on grounds of race, but we are content to state unequivocally that each case to which he refers was dealt with on its own merits’, reads the Ethics Board statement. ‘Different circumstances axiomatically lead to different conclusions’.

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