New WADA report ties Vladimir Putin, ex-IAAF boss in doping scandal
Report also says corruption was 'embedded' in IAAF
The leader of track's governing body told a lawyer he'd need to cut a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure nine Russian athletes accused of doping wouldn't compete at the 2013 world championships in Moscow, according to a new World Anti-Doping Agency report on the scandal that reached the top of the sport and country.
The report, written by former WADA president Dick Pound and released Thursday in Munich, also states that Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), was responsible for organizing and enabling the conspiracy and corruption that took place in athletics' governing body.
With cases against nine Russian athletes unresolved and the 2013 world championships looming, the report says Diack explained to a lawyer that he is in a "difficult position that could only be resolved by President Putin of Russia with whom he had struck up a friendship."
In addition to the deal-making friendship forged between Putin and Diack, the report details a sudden increase from $6 million US to $25 million for Russian rights to televise the 2013 worlds provided by a Russian bank, and also tells of a lawyer who was handpicked by Diack to handle Russian cases even though he had little experience with anti-doping measures.
It said Diack "sanctioned and appears to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes."
The 89-page report recommends that the IAAF must restructure to ensure corruption cannot go unchecked. The corruption "cannot be blamed on a small number of miscreants," Pound wrote.
"The corruption was embedded in the organization," the report says. "It cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting on his own."
The report comes a day after the Associated Press released details from six years of IAAF internal emails, reports and notes showing a high level of communication between the athletics federation and Russian officials about suspicious test results from the nation's athletes, including plans to cover up some doping evidence.
IAAF leaders must have been aware
According to the report, IAAF leaders must have been aware of the full extent of doping in Russia but did nothing to stop it, and the track and field organization itself was riddled by corruption.
"It is increasingly clear that far more IAAF staff knew about the problems than has currently been acknowledged," said the report.
"It is not credible that elected officials were unaware of the situation affecting ... athletics in Russia. If, therefore, the circle of knowledge was so extensive why was nothing done? Quite obviously there was no appetite on the part of the IAAF to challenge Russia."
The report added: "The corruption was embedded in the organization. It cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting on its own."
The report laid considerable blame at the feet of the IAAF Council, the overseeing body that included the now president of the IAAF, Sebastian Coe.
But Pound backed Coe to stay at the helm of the IAAF, saying he was the best man to lead the organization out of the crisis and restore its credibility.
"As far as the ability of Lord Coe to remain as head of the IAAF, I think it's a fabulous opportunity for the IAAF to seize this opportunity and under strong leadership to move forward," Pound said of Coe, who was in the audience. "There's enormous amount of reputational recovery that has to occur here and I can't ... think of anyone better than Lord Coe to lead that."
The report said council members "could not have been unaware of the level of nepotism that operated within the IAAF," and also "could not have been unaware of the extent of doping."
Pound's first report, issued in November, detailed a state-sponsored doping program in Russia involving corruption and cover-ups. That led the IAAF to suspend Russia's track and field federation, leaving its athletes in danger of missing this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Pound details meetings between Diack and IAAF lawyer Huw Roberts, who delivered details of the nine Russian doping cases directly to Diack and asked how he planned to resolve them.
Diack's son had deal with Russian bank: report
With no resolution coming, Diack explained to Roberts "he was in a difficult position that could only be resolved by President Putin of Russia with whom he had struck up a friendship," the report said.
Eventually, the report says, none of the nine athletes competed in Moscow, but their cases were not further pursued by the IAAF. Those delays led to Roberts' resignation in January 2014.
By then, according to the report's details, Roberts had virtually no control over cases involving Russians.
In November 2011, Diack turned over responsibility for Russian cases involving biological passport blood tests to his personal lawyer, Habib Cisse.
Cisse is under investigation in France for corruption. Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack, has been banned from track for life. Papa Massata and another of Diack's sons, Khalil, both had IAAF jobs outside the official framework of the federation that set them up to execute all the fraud, the report said.
The report details a 2012 meeting at a Moscow hotel involving a Russian TV advisor, Papa Massata Diack, Cisse and Russian athletics federation head Valentin Balakhnichev, who was also honourary treasurer of the IAAF. The meeting was set to resolve a "problem" with the $6 million price tag for the Russian TV rights to the following year's world championships.
After the meeting, Papa Massata Diack had an arrangement with a leading Russian bank worth $25 million.
Pound called for the IAAF to undertake forensic examination of how the TV rights were awarded to determine if there were any improprieties.
This was the second of two reports from Pound. His previous report, released in November, detailed corruption in Russia. Since then, the country's track team has been suspended, along with its anti-doping agency and the Moscow anti-doping lab.
Together the report and other recent revelations indicate that many officials inside the IAAF, which announced the ban of Russian athletes in November, were aware of the growing Russian doping problem for years before taking action against the nation, and some may have been actively covering up Russian wrongdoing. Coe, already facing criticism for his close relationship with Nike, will have to persuade the public that he was not involved in the broad cooperation with Russia.