CAS Upholds Life Bans for Top Russian Athletics Officials: Jonathan Laidlaw QC Acts for IAAF
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS ), following a hearing in Lausanne in November of last year, has announced its decision to uphold life bans on two top Russian athletics officials and the son of the former world governing body president Lamine Diack for covering up an elite Russian athlete’s positive dope test and blackmailing her. The bans followed the previous year’s World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission report that found a state-sponsored culture of doping in Russia and prompted the country’s suspension from the sport. The sanctions related primarily to the case of the Russian former London marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova, who paid $600,000 to have positive dope tests covered up. Valentin Balakhnichev, the former head of the Russian athletics federation, and Alexei Melnikov, the country’s former head distance coach, were banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF) ethics commission in January last year as was Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing consultant to the IAAF. Jonathan Laidlaw QC represented the IAAF at the hearing before CAS. The full grounds for the decision will be published shortly.