Written by Josh Gorst


The 87-year old former head of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, was sentenced in a Paris court today to 2 years in prison, a further 2 year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 500,000 Euros (£455, 421) after being convicted of multiple charges of corruption and one charge of ‘breach of trust’. He was acquitted of a further money laundering charge.

The former businessman and Olympic long-jumper from Senegal served for nearly 16 years as President of the IAAF (1999 – 2015) before handing over to Sebastian Coe in 2015. Over the course of his tenure he regularly mixed with political leaders and heads of State from across the world and was widely regarded as one of the most powerful men in sport and one of the most influential men in Senegalese politics and so this conviction serves as a spectacular fall from grace.

His legal team have insisted that despite this conviction, they intend to appeal, describing the decision as “unjust and inhuman”. This notice of appeal will, for the time being, keep him out of prison.

In a statement, World Athletics (previously IAAF) stated:

“This has been a long five years and we would like to thank the French Prosecutors and the Paris Criminal Court for their time, detailed work and deliberations in to this case.” They went on to say:

“We are grateful for the damages awarded by the Paris Criminal Court totalling €16 million for embezzled funds and for reputational damage suffered as a direct consequence of these crimes and the resulting media coverage. As the Court acknowledged, this damage has impacted World Athletics’ finances and had a negative impact on World Athletics’ image and reputation in a deep and lasting way. We will do everything we can to recover the monies awarded and return them to the organisation for the development of athletics globally.”

The full statement can be read here.

What is the case all about?

Diack was found guilty of accepting bribes from athletes who had been suspected of doping, to cover up test results and to allow them to continue competing. The convictions span a number of years and include the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

As if that was not bad enough, the Parisian court also found him guilty of accepting money from Russia to support the campaign of Macky Sall to become the President of Senegal in 2012. In return, Diack intervened and meddled with anti-doping processes to the benefit Russian athletes suspected of taking drugs.

In total, Diack received bribes worth over £3 million from drug cheat athletes. The comments of the presiding judge were particularly scathing, saying he had “undermined the values of athletics and the fight against doping”.

A sentiment with which I think we can all agree.

Trackstaa will continue to follow this story and keep you updated on Diack’s future appeals.

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