The director of the ruling athletics body IAAF’s anti-doping department, Frenchman Gabriel Dolle, has resigned, allegedly in connection with an investigation into systematic doping in Russia.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Friday confirmed that Dolle stepped down but did not want to link it to the probe, unlike the British Guardian news paper and French sports daily l’Equipe who said that Dolle resigned after being questioned by the IAAF ethics committee.
“Gabriel has resigned from the IAAF at the age of 73 – the normal retirement age in Monaco is 65,” the IAAF said. “We have no information about Gabriel being interviewed by the ethics commission.”
The news reports said Dolle’s name was mentioned in a document from the team of three-time Chicago marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova, who allegedly paid 450 000 euros to avoid a doping ban.
But it was not clear “to what extent Dolle will be implicated in the ethics commission’s investigation,” the Guardian said.
Shobukhova was eventually banned for doping and said that some of the money was refunded.
German state broadcaster ARD linked the refund to Russian athletics powerhouse and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev. It also said that the Singapore Bank which made the payment is owned by a business partner of Papa Massata Diack, a consultant for the IAAF and son of its president Lamine Diack.
The IAAF said Thursday that Balakhnichev and Papa Massata Diack have suspended their IAAF activities for the duration of the probe.
ARD had last week alleged that Russian sport is plagued by systematic doping, covering up of tests and corruption. The report included statements from whistleblowers and implicated Russian coaches and officials.
Balakhnikov told the Tass news agency Wednesday he does not rule out legal action against ARD over what he named a “provocation aimed at undermining Russian sport.”
Apart from the IAAF ethics committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said it will also probe the wide-ranging allegations.
The Guardian said it understands that the IAAF ethics committee has been investigating since March 2014 and that a verdict is expected within the next two months. – Reuters