Japan ‘sponsorship money’ to IAAF may have swayed 2020 Games bid decision: report


In a report released Thursday by the World Anti-Doping Agency, an independent commission mentioned evidence that several million dollars in sponsorship money reportedly paid by Japan to the International Association of Athletics Federations may have swayed then-IAAF chief Lamine Diack to favor Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The report, a followup to the commission’s November findings on widespread doping and corruption in Russia’s athletics program, alleges conflicts of interest in the world track and field governing body under former IOC member Diack and misconduct ranging from anti-doping violations to criminal acts of conspiracy and bribery.

In a section about the alleged extortion of Turkish middle-distance runner Asli Cakir Alptekin, a footnote of the report mentions discussions between Turkish track officials and Diack’s son, Khalil. It describes references to the competition between Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo for the 2020 Games awarded to Japan, summarizing that “Turkey lost (Diack’s) support because they did not pay sponsorship moneys of $4 (million) to 5 million either to the Diamond League or IAAF. According (to) the transcript the Japanese did pay such a sum.”

The commission, led by IOC member Dick Pound, did not dig into the matter further as it was not within the purview of their investigation. After conferring with Interpol, the commission approached French law enforcement authorities who will take over the investigation of suspected criminal activity.

At a press conference on Thursday, Pound endorsed Diack’s successor, Sebastian Coe, and urged the IAAF to “seize this opportunity and under strong leadership move forward.”

“There is an enormous amount of reputational recovery that has to occur here. I can’t think of anyone better than Lord Coe to lead that,” Pound said.