Russian athletics chief steps down from IAAF role

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2014 4:57 AM

By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The head of Russia's athletics federation has stepped down from his role as treasurer of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because of the investigation into allegations of doping in Russia.

Valentin Balakhnichev, the president of the Russian Athletics Federation (VFLA), 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 once it was over.

"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 in the video 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."

"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."

(Reporting By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy; Editing by Julian Linden)