The scale of doping and money laundering within the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has been described by some as dwarfing the scandals engulfing soccer’s global governing body, Fifa.
But there are striking similarities between the two global sporting superpowers through former IAAF president Lamine Diack (82) and erstwhile Fifa vice-president Jack Warner (72) – and their sons.
Diack is being investigated by French police on suspicion of corruption and money laundering amid allegations linking his sons to the extortion of money from athletes who tested positive for doping.
He is believed to have pocketed more than $1 million (R14.3 million) from the alleged cash-for-silence scheme.
According to a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report, Diack’s sons – Pape Massata and Khalil – are alleged to have attempted to extort $500 000 from Turkey’s 1 500m women’s Olympic champion Asli Çakir Alptekin in November 2012, but she refused to pay.
Pape Massata worked under his father as a marketing consultant at the IAAF.
And like the Diacks, the Warners are at the centre of football’s widespread corruption scandal.
Former Fifa executive Warner stands accused of racketeering by US authorities and was charged with, among other things, allegedly taking a $10 million payment from South Africa to influence voting for the country to host the 2010 World Cup.
Interestingly, his sons, Daryan and Daryll, have cooperated with the FBI in building a case against their father.
Daryan also admitted in court papers in June that he sold World Cup tickets at a substantial profit in a multimillion-dollar scam.
According to international reports, the role of the Warner brothers in depositing some $128 000 in 23 separate deposits at three banks triggered alerts while US authorities were probing the massive Fifa bribery scandal.
In the IAAF’s case, evidence from Wada put the French police on to the Diacks.
International sports lawyer Richard McLaren – who also co-authored the Wada report that nailed Russian athletes – said the issues confronting athletics were even more serious than the Fifa scandal.
“You potentially have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of extra money in their pockets through extortion and bribes, but they also caused significant changes to actual results and the final standings of international athletics competitions,” McLaren was quoted as saying this week.
Newly elected IAAF president Sir Sebastian Coe, who took over from Diack in August, has his hands full to clean up the tainted sport.
The same goes for the Fifa president who will succeed Sepp Blatter in presidential elections on February 26.
Fifa has confirmed five candidates – Tokyo Sexwale, Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa, Jérôme Champagne and Gianni Infantino – for the polls.