Banned athletics officials appeal

Papa Massata Diack in Dakar on February 8, 2015

Papa Massata Diack is a former consultant to the International Association of Athletics Federations

The three athletics officials banned for life from the sport over an alleged doping cover-up have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Papa Massata Diack, son of ex-world athletics chief Lamine Diack, and Russians Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov want the bans annulled.

They were charged in December with multiple breaches of anti-doping rules relating to Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova.

An IAAF ethics commission accused the trio of blackmail and bribery.

Cas said the three men had filed their appeals but it would not comment any further at this time.

Papa Massata Diack is a former consultant to athletics’ governing body.

In a 170-page report, the independent IAAF ethics commission panel ruled he, Balakhnichev and Melnikov conspired to “blackmail” Shobukhova to cover up her doping violations by paying them “bribes” of about £435,000.

Diack and Balakhnichev, a former president of the Russian athletics federation and IAAF treasurer, were fined £17,000 while Russian coach Melnikov was fined £10,000.

In December, Diack told the BBC he “totally rejects” the blackmail allegations, saying: “There was no extortion of funds from any athlete.”

Last month, France issued an international wanted notice via Interpol for the former IAAF marketing consultant, who Senegal refuse to extradite.

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