29th November 2016

IAAF to take over sanctioning of international athletes for doping

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is to take over responsibility for the prosecution of anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) involving international level athletes, who are currently sanctioned at national level. The measure is part of the creation of an Independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and an Integrity Code of Conduct, which the IAAF Congress will vote to approve at a meeting in Monaco on 3 December. The independent AIU will be governed by a five-person Integrity Unit Board appointed by the IAAF, and will be operational by 3 April 2017.

The new Integrity Code of Conduct will incorporate the existing IAAF Code of Ethics and all existing IAAF rules setting out standards of conduct. It will include rules on anti-doping; the manipulation of sports competitions; betting and corruption; conflicts of interest, disclosures and gifts; as well as other prohibited conduct such as bringing the sport into disrepute.

The proposals are contained in a document entitled Time for Change, and were initially outlined in July in a document entitled Reform of the IAAF – a New Era. They also involve a slimming down of the IAAF Council from 27 to 26 members, by removing the role of Treasurer, which will now become a function of the Finance Committee of the newly-created nine person IAAF Executive Board. Former Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) President Valentin Balakhnichev stepped aside as IAAF Treasurer in December 2014 and was sanctioned with a life ban in January this year.

‘A leading edge integrity framework which no other international sports federation has in place sits at the heart of our reform proposals’, writes IAAF President Sebastian Coe in the Time for Change document. ‘It will position us as federation leaders which is critical if we are to continue to lead in protecting clean athletes’.

The vote to approve proposals for the IAAF to take on responsibility for the sanctioning of international athletes comes shortly after a new documentary, produced by ARD/Le Monde, unveiled additional levels of complicity by former IAAF staff in covering up Russian doping. It appears that a total of six Russian athletes were blackmailed by IAAF officials in return for covering up positive doping tests, and that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was aware of this in September 2014.

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