20th March 2019

Sports Integrity Briefs – 20 March 2019

• The Swiss Olympic Association (SOV) has reduced doping bans issued to two athletes. Anti-doping Switzerland announced that an ‘ambitious young cyclist’ who had taken steroids and breached a ban on competing was initially issued with a five year ban, however this was reduced by two years under the ‘leniency rule’. The other case involved a martial arts athlete who reported an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for drostanolone, whose four year ban was halved due to useful information provided on third party involvement in his case.

• French police have issued arrest warrants relating to Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov, ‘sources’ told AFP. Balakhnichev is the former President of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), and former Treasurer for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), whom the federation banned for life on 7 January 2016 for extorting money from athletes in return for the covering up of positive doping tests. Melnikov is a former senior athletics coach for RusAF, who was banned for life on similar charges. On 21 August 2017, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed an appeal by Balakhnichev, Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack, son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack, against life bans issued by the IAAF.

• The State of Qatar made a US$400 million offer to the international federation of football associations (FIFA) 21 days before the vote to award it the hosting rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, reports The Sunday Times. The newspaper reports that files confirm that State broadcaster Al Jazeera signed a TV contract making the offer, which included a ‘success fee’ of $100 million if Qatar was successful in the 2010 vote. The newspaper also alleges that a second TV contract for a further $480 million was offered by Qatar three years later – shortly before FIFA ended its investigation into corruption into the bidding process. The UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has called for an investigation into the claims, supported by former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron (see below). FIFA told The Sunday Times that the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is still investigating the allegations.

Traffic Sports has been ordered to pay US$1 million in fines by a US Court, for its role in paying bribes to senior football officials in return for TV contracts, reports AP. It is understood that Traffic Sports International and Traffic Sports USA were ordered to pay $500,000 each for their role in the FIFAGate scandal. Both had previously agreed to shut down operations as part of a plea bargain agreement.

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