IAAF deputy general secretary steps aside over leaked email

Nick Davies, deputy general secretary of the IAAF, pictured on November 9, 2015, steps down from his role (AFP Photo/Adrian Dennis)
Nick Davies, deputy general secretary of the IAAF, pictured on November 9, 2015, steps down from his role (AFP Photo/Adrian Dennis)

Paris (AFP) - The IAAF's deputy general secretary Nick Davies confirmed on Tuesday that he has stepped down from his role pending an investigation into a plot to delay the naming of Russian drug cheats.

"I have decided to step aside from my role with the IAAF until such time as the Ethics Board is able to review the matter properly and decide if I am responsible for any breach of the IAAF Code of Ethics," Davies said in a statement released by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

French newspaper Le Monde and the BBC reported on Monday that Davies had discussed the plan in an email sent before the 2013 Moscow World Championships to Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant at the time and is the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack.

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"What has become apparent today is that I have become the story," added Davies, who is the closest aide to current IAAF president Sebastian Coe.

"In order to demonstrate that I am willing to have all allegations of unethical behaviour on my part in 2013 properly and fairly investigated I have referred my emails to Papa Massata Diack in 2013, my statements and the circumstances of the emails to the IAAF Ethics Board."

Le Monde and the BBC reported on Monday that, in the email, which was sent just weeks before the 2013 World Championships, Davies wrote he needed to sit down with the anti-doping team to discuss "Russian skeletons in the cupboard".

Davies stressed in the email that any Russians already caught cheating "should NOT" be in the Russian team in Moscow and that this should be made clear to Valentin Balakhnichev, then president of the Russian athletics federation and IAAF treasurer.

"If the guilty ones are not competing, then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them," Davies said according to the report.

"Or, we announce one or two BUT AT SAME TIME as athletes from other countries.

"Also, we can prepare a special dossier on IAAF testing which will show that one of reasons why these Russian athletes come up positive is that they get tested a lot!!!"

Last month, Russia was provisionally suspended from track and field over accusations of "state-sponsored" doping as the IAAF scrambled to salvage the sport's credibility just nine months out from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Lamine Diack resigned from his position on the International Olympic Committee in November after being charged with corruption, money laundering and conspiracy.

On Monday the 82-year-old Senegalese was hit with new corruption charges linked to doping cover-ups in world athletics, a source close to the inquiry told AFP.

Lamine Diack served as head of the IAAF for 16 years until August, when he was succeeded by Coe.

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