8 December 2014

IAAF to investigate doping allegations, ARAF considers legal action

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) confirmed that it will investigate allegations that athletics officials colluded in assisting Russian athletes to dope, after ARD aired the second instalment of a two-part documentary last night. ‘Geheimsache Doping’, produced for ARD by investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt, which aired on 3 and 7 December, linked a €300,000 refund issued to the coach of Liliya Shobukhova to All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) President Valentin Balakhnichev (pictured), who is also Treasurer of the IAAF.

‘The IAAF has seen a new documentary on German TV channel ARD on 7 December 2014 (part of the programme ‘SportSchau’) which includes a number of allegations involving doping in Russian athletics, as well as  individuals from outside Russia’, read the IAAF’s statement. ‘As was the case for the documentary broadcast by the same channel on 3 December, a transcript in English of this latest documentary will be forwarded to the independent IAAF Ethics Commission, which has already started an investigation into matters which were exposed in both documentaries’.

The IAAF said that a copy of the transcript would be forwarded to all of the individuals named in the documentary, who will be asked to respond to the allegations made against them. It has also been sent to all members of the IAAF Council. ‘Finally, with regard to new material revealed in the documentary related to anti-doping, and therefore outside the scope of the Ethics Commission, these will be added to the IAAF investigation that is already under way in full co-operation with WADA’, read the statement.

The ARAF is considering legal action. A statement from ARAF President Balahnichev, named in the documentary, labelled the allegations ‘a provocation aimed at undermining Russian sport’. The statement said that ‘even a cursory viewing of the film leaves one to reasonably doubt the truthfulness of the evidence. In the film, indications are made by five people whose statements can hardly be trusted, because each of them has been convicted of doping and has their reasons to dislike certain athletes, coaches, staff, ARAF and RUSADA (Russia’s anti-doping agency). ARAF considers the airing of the film solely as a roughly-planned attempt to denigrate Russian athletics and Russian sport in general. Currently, ARAF are exploring all possibilities provided by Russian and German law to protect their rights, including action against those responsible for disseminating defamatory information.’

Part one of the documentary, which aired on 3 December, is available here. Part two, which aired 7 December, is available here.

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