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Three IAAF officials banned for blackmailing athletes

Lausanne: Three senior IAAF officials have been banned for life for blackmailing athletes and covering up positive drugs tests.

Papa Massata Diack, the son of the then IAAF president Lamine Diack, Valentin Balakhnichev, former Russian athletic federation (ARAF) president and IAAF treasurer Alexei Melnikov, a senior ARAF coach, have all been handed lifetime bans.

Gabriel Dollé, who was the IAAF's anti-doping director, has been given a five-year ban for his part in the doping scandal which has rocked world athletics.

The findings by the IAAF's ethics commission lay bare the corruption involving senior figures in athletics, with the trio found to have blackmailed Russian runner Liliya Shobukhova, 2010 London marathon winner, and made her pay a bribe for a positive drugs test to be covered up.

Lamine Diack, who was succeeded as president by Lord Coe in August, is himself under investigation by French police on suspicion of taking more than one million euros to cover up positive tests.

The ethics commission's findings state: "The head of a national federation, the senior coach of a major national team and a marketing consultant for the IAAF conspired together (and, it may yet be proven with others too) to conceal for more than three years anti-doping violations by an athlete at what appeared to be the highest pinnacle of her sport. All three have acted dishonestly, corruptly and damaged the sport of track and field."

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