London - Four senior athletics officials
were due to appear before the IAAF's ethics commission in London on Wednesday
accused of covering up doping offences.
The four officials, none of whom are
expected to attend the private three-day hearing, include former IAAF
consultant Papa Massata Diack, the son of the organisation's former president
The others are ex-IAAF anti-doping director
Gabriel Dolle, former Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) president and IAAF
treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev and the ARAF's former long-distance athletics
coach Alexei Melnikov.
The four men are charged with breaching the
IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) code of ethics and
could face lifetime bans. A decision is expected in early January.
The hearing takes place against the
backdrop of a French probe into allegations that high-ranking IAAF officials
received bribes in return for concealing positive drugs tests by athletes.
Lamine Diack is accused of receiving over 1.1 million in bribes, while Pape Massata
Diack, Dolle and Balakhnichev are also under investigation.
The charges stem from claims by Russian
runner turned whistle-blower Liliya Shobukhova, a former London marathon
winner, that she paid around $600 000 for doping violations to be covered up.
Shobukhova had a 38-month suspension
reduced by seven months after she agreed to testify to the World Anti-doping
The ethics commission panel will be chaired
by Michael Beloff QC, a leading English barrister.
"A hearing has been fixed to take
place in London over 16-18 December 2015, to consider the cases against them,
including their defences and evidence to be provided by or on their
behalf," Beloff said in a statement last month.
"In accordance with the rules of the
ethics commission the hearing will be held in private."
The IAAF, world athletics' governing body,
has banned Russia from international competition after a report by WADA's
independent commission found evidence of "state-sponsored doping".