Lausanne - Former
sprinter Frankie Fredericks quit on Tuesday as head of the IOC commission
monitoring candidates for the 2024 Olympics amid a probe into money he
accepted from a sports marketing chief accused of corruption.
Fredericks, 49, strongly denied any wrongdoing in accepting nearly
$300 000 around the day that Rio de Janeiro was awarded
the 2016 Olympics.
But said he had "personally decided that it is in the best interests
of a good functioning of the International Olympic Committee candidature
process that I step aside as chairperson of the 2024 Evaluation
Commission, because it is essential that the important work my
colleagues are doing is seen as being carried out in a truthful and fair
The Namibian athletics great went on: "I do not wish to become a distraction from this great contest."
The IOC is to decide in September whether Los Angeles or Paris gets
the 2024 Olympics. But the decision faces greater scrutiny because of
corruption allegations over recent Olympics.
And Fredericks' announcement came one day after he also stepped down
as a member of an International Association of Athletics Federations
task force on getting doping-tainted Russia back into global sport.
Le Monde newspaper on Friday said Fredericks, a four-time Olympic
silver medallist, received nearly $300 000 from Papa Massata Diack, who
is wanted in France on bribery charges.
Fredericks received the
sum from Pamodzi Sports Consulting, which is owned by Papa Massata
Diack. Diack, alongside his father and former IAAF chief Lamine Diack,
faces charges in France over millions of dollars paid to cover up doping
failures by Russian athletes.
French investigators are also looking into the possibility that
bribes were paid over the awarding of the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio and
the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Three days before the IOC awarded the Games to Rio on October 2,
2009, Brazilian businessman Arthur Cesar Menezes Soares Filho paid $1.5
million to Papa Massata Diack.
Another payment of $500 000 was made around the same time to another
account belonging to Diack in Russia. At the time Diack was a marketing
consultant to the IAAF.
Fredericks has said he had a consultancy deal with Diack's firm.
"I categorically deny any direct or indirect involvement in any
untoward conduct and confirm that I have never breached any law,
regulation or rule of ethics in respect of any IOC election process,"
Fredericks said in his statement.
"The articles do not only target me, they target the integrity of the
International Olympic Committee bidding and elections process for host
"Of course all election processes should be seen to be free and fair.
This is why I have been and am still actively cooperating with the IOC
Ethics Commission in order for them to conduct a proper and independent
Fredericks said he had made a statement to the IOC ethics commission
on the case and "will continue to give my full cooperation to a proper
investigation of these reports and then await the outcome of this
"It is of course in my highest interests to clear myself of the
negative insinuations against me and my role within the IOC as soon as
possible in order to prevent any further damage to my reputation and
that of the IOC."
The Namibian was one of the star sprinters of the 1990s.
Running in the 100m and 200m, he won two silver medals at
the 1992 Olympics and two more at the 1996 Games. He is Namibia's only
Olympic medal winner.