Athletics

Former head of global athletics Lamine Diack dies at 88: family

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Lamine Diack (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images for IAAF)
Lamine Diack (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images for IAAF)
Lintao Zhang

The former head of global athletics Lamine Diack, who presided over the sport from 1999 to 2015 but was later convicted for corruption, has died aged 88, his family told AFP.

The Senegalese was head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now renamed World Athletics.

Diack, who was also a powerful figure at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was found guilty of corruption by a French court in 2020 for covering up Russian doping cases in exchange for millions of dollars of bribes.

He was sentenced to four years in prison, of which two were suspended, and fined €500 000 ($560 000).

The trial in Paris heard that the money was paid in return for "full protection", to allow Russian athletes who should have been banned to escape punishment.

Some 23 Russian athletes had their doping offences hushed up so they could compete at the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 world championships in Moscow.

Because of his age, Diack, a former long jumper, football coach and then businessman and politician who was decorated in the Kremlin in late 2011, was spared jail.

His son Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing executive for the IAAF, was tried in absentia because Senegal refused to extradite him. He was sentenced to five years in prison, fined one million euros and banned from all sport for 10 years.

Lamine Diack, a member of the IOC from 1999 to 2013 and then an honorary member from 2014-15, was embroiled in another corruption affair linked to the awarding of the 2016 Rio Olympics and the Tokyo Olympics, that were postponed because of the pandemic but took place this year.

Despite not being jailed over the Russian corruption, he was held in France because of his indictment in the case involving suspected Olympic vote-buying. His passport had been confiscated.

But a judge soon lifted the ban on Diack leaving France, provided he paid a bond and that he continued to respond to summonses.

Senegalese Premier League side Jaraaf de Dakar, where Diack was club president, said it had sold part of its headquarters property to pay the bail.

Diack was replaced by Britain's Sebastian Coe in August 2015 as head of world athletics. The disgraced Senegalese had resigned from the IOC in the same year.

Coe had been one of Diack's vice-presidents at the then-IAAF between 2011 and 2014.

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