Former Russian athletics chief appeals life suspension: lawyer

Moscow, Jan 29 (IANS) Former president of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) Valentin Balakhnichev has filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the decision on his suspension for life, the ex-athletics chief’s lawyer, Artyom Patsev, has said.

“The appeal has been filed today. Only God knows how long it will be examined,” the lawyer said on Thursday, reports Tass.

On January 7, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ethics committee suspended for life from all athletics activities Balakhnichev, Papa Massata Diack as well as Alexey Melnikov, the ARAF’s national team coach for long distance running and race walkers.

The committee found Balakhnichev guilty of entering a conspiracy with Diack and Melnikov against opening proceedings on doping-abuse charges in regard to Russian athlete Lilia Shobukhova.

The latter allegedly transferred money to these officials to avoid suspension after caught using performance enhancing drugs. He is also accused of taking no action to bar Shobukhova from participation in the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2012 marathon in Chicago.

Balakhnichev considers his life suspension to be politically motivated and has rejected all accusations because he considers the committee’s proofs as unsubstantive. Balakhnichev headed the ARAF from 1990 to 2015.

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