(ATR) Frank Fredericks is stepping down from the IAAF taskforce that is coordinating the re-admittance process of the suspended Russian athletics federation RusAF.
"I have decided to step aside from the taskforce so that the integrity of its work is not questioned due to the allegations made against me in Le Monde. It is important that the taskforce’s mission is seen as free and fair with no outside influence," Fredericks said in a statement released by the IAAF on Monday.
The IAAF says President Sebastian Coe is in agreement with Fredericks’ decision. Coe has named IAAF Athletes' Commission Chairperson Rozle Prezelj of Slovenia to replace Fredericks on the taskforce.
"The IAAF Taskforce’s work is of utmost importance in rebuilding confidence in Russia whose national system has failed the aspirations of clean athletes and the integrity of competition," Coe said in a statement.
"Their coordination with RusAF and the monitoring of its acceptance of and adherence to the verification criteria and reinstatement conditions is crucial as we work to return athletes to international competition in a safe environment for all."
Prezelj replaces Fredericks on the taskforce with immediate effect, joining independent chair Rune Andersen and three IAAF Council Members Abby Hoffman, Anna Riccardi and Geoff Gardner.
Fredericks, who is the honorary chairperson of the IAAF Athletes’ Commission and a former chairperson of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, has denied that money he received the day the IOC voted to send the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro was a bribe for his vote.
In reply to questions posed by Le Monde, Fredericks says a payment of $299,300 he received from a business controlled by the son of disgraced ex-IAAF President Lamine Diack was for services Fredericks rendered in Namibia to develop youth programs for athletics.
"Payment was in respect of services rendered in the period 2007 to 2011. The payment has nothing whatsoever to do with the Olympic games. By the way, I was not an IAAF board member at the time, but an IAAF ambassador, and did not breach any regulation or rule of ethics," Fredericks tells Le Monde.
The response of Fredericks follows a report by the newspaper that a corruption investigation by French police into the dealings of Diack and son Papa Masata Diack has uncovered the transaction to a company registered to Fredericks in the Seychelles Islands.
Fredericks remains chair of the IOC Evaluation Commission for 2024 with any potential changes to his position now in the hands of the IOC Ethics Commission.
Written by Gerard Farek
For general comments or questions,click here.
25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.