December 11, 2014 / 9:59 AM / 4 years ago

Diack's son, Russian official, step down from IAAF roles

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The son of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack has stepped down from his role with the governing body as investigations continue into allegations of doping in Russia.

Papa Massata Diack, an IAAF marketing consultant, is one of three officials to leave their posts following the allegations that have rocked the organisation.

“Papa Massata Diack has also written to the IAAF confirming he will suspend his activities on behalf of the IAAF until the commission has delivered its final report,” a statement said.

The head of Russia’s Athletics Federation (VFLA), Valentin Balakhnichev, has also stepped down from his role as IAAF treasurer.

Balakhnichev told Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency that he had volunteered to stand down while the investigation was taking place but planned to return to his job.

“I sent a letter today to the President of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, with the offer of temporarily ceasing to work as treasurer and as a member of the council of this organization,” Balakhnichev told TASS.

The IAAF launched an investigation into the claims, made by a German television documentary, alleging widespread doping and cover-ups among Russian track and field competitors and some high-ranking officials.

The allegations have not been verified by Reuters and Balakhnichev has denied any knowledge of doping, denouncing the claims as “a pack of lies”.

“Over the last few days the VFLA and I have been the victims of a vicious campaign, which has brought concerns amongst my colleagues from the IAAF,” he said.

“I feel it is the correct decision to stop my work with the IAAF, until this investigation into the doping scandal finishes.

“However, during this period of an enforced holiday, I will be working for the good of athletics and will continue to give everything in the fight against doping.”

In response to Balakhnichev’s decision, the sport’s governing body said in a statement: “The IAAF appreciates the gesture of council member Valentin Balakhnichev, who has been the subject of recent media allegations, who has voluntarily decided to cease exercising his duties as IAAF Treasurer and Council Member until the independent IAAF Ethics Commission’s on-going investigation has concluded.”

Additional reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Julian Linden and Ed Osmond

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