Bribery probe into athletics chief

Official who decides if London will host 2017 World Championships is under investigation

London's bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships, the third largest international sports event after the Olympics and the World Cup, is to be decided by a sports body headed by a man under investigation for corruption.

Lamine Diack, the powerful president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), is being investigated by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ethics commission for allegedly taking bribes from a Swiss company when it had the exclusive marketing contract for the IAAF Championships.

Despite the inquiry, Mr Diack has kept his position with the IAAF, which will announce in Monaco on Friday whether London will be awarded the 2017 World Championships. London's rival is Doha, capital of Qatar.

The inquiry was opened after Mr Diack's name was found among those on a list detailing payments totalling $100m (£62m) made to sports officials by the now defunct ISL marketing company, allegedly in return for lucrative contracts.

The list, a copy of which was obtained by the BBC's Panorama programme, appears to show that on 22 April 1993 Mr Diack, who was then senior vice-president of the IAAF, was paid $20,000 in cash and on23 July of that year another $10,000, also in cash. On 19 November 1993, he allegedly received a further 30,000 French francs – then worth about £7,200.

Mr Diack, a member of the IOC, did not respond to questions from The Independent on Sunday. When asked on film about the allegations, at a London hotel earlier this year, Mr Diack declined to comment and ran off.

In an interview with the website Insidethegames, Mr Diack said he had answered all the IOC's questions and had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Mr Diack, from Senegal, was quoted as saying: "I answered to the ethics commission and I had no more reaction from them," he said. "That put an end to that."

However, Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, has insisted the ethics commission inquiry, which has lasted 10 months, will not be considered by the IOC until December. Mr Rogge was reported as saying: "The ethics commission has done an inquiry, [it] will present a report in early December. We don't know what is in the report because it is strictly confidential. The report will not necessarily propose decisions. It might be information only. I don't know.We will see."

Also under investigation for allegedly taking kickbacks from ISL are IOC members Issa Hayatou from Cameroon, also a vice-president of Fifa, and Brazil's Joao Havelange, former Fifa president. His former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira – not an IOC member but a member of Fifa's ruling executive committee – is under investigation by Brazilian Federal Police for money laundering and tax evasion in connection with $9.5m allegedly received from ISL channelled through a Liechtenstein company. None of the officials responded to questions from The IoS.

The well-funded Qatari team have announced that if successful, they will stage the World Championships in September 2017, a later date than usual, in the climate-controlled Khalifa Stadium to avoid the summer heat. Long-distance events such as the marathon will be run at night. The IAAF has approved this change. Doha has already staged the World Indoor Championships.

London's bid leader Lord Coe, Hugh Robertson, the sports minister, and Boris Johnson, London's Mayor, will travel to Monaco to promote the bid. A video of David Cameron endorsing the bid will also be shown.

Comments