I apologize for the long hiatus, but I am slowly making my way back into blogging about the happenings along some of the legal aspects of the sports world. There are some very interesting and troubling recent events that occurred which are worth noting.
An independent commission report debuted last week, which blamed the International Association of Athletics Federations (“IAAF”) for a plethora of problems involving doping cover-ups and influencing the bidding process on how countries are selected for world championships. Linford Christie, a gold medalist in the 1992 Olympic Games in the 100 meter dash, called for a new IAAF board and greater transparency within its organization to try and ensure that they take these matters seriously, and to restore the trust the public has lost in its organization. Unfortunately, it appears that its current president, Lord Coe, remains in power, and there does not appear anything will change in the near future.
One of the more shocking details of the report is how Lamine Diack, the former president of the IAAF, had a son who “apparently was asking for 5million dollars from Qatar to support their bid – they were our competitors for the 2017 championships.”
It is becoming clear that governing bodies in the sports world carry too much power and influence, to the point where they abdicate their moral outlook in exchange for monetary award. It was not too long ago when the corruption scandal that affected FIFA hit the news only a couple of years ago. Perhaps it is time to reformat the structure of these governing bodies to lessen the susceptibility of succumbing to external pressures.
IAAF is the source of one of the biggest sporting scandals within the last decade. For former Russians athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichev, escaping criminal sanctions amid doping and bribery scandals seems unlikely. Balakhnichev, who simultaneously served as treasurer of the IAAF from 2011 to 2014, recently received a lifetime ban from the IAAF. His permanent ban comes from his decision to take bribes to cover up for the doping practices he knew Russian athletes had been performing. While Balakhnichev does not believe the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) possesses enough evidence with which to prove the allegations made, the possibility is all but likely. This, and other corruption issues within the Russian athletics, has put the participation of Russia within the 2016 Summer Olympics at an uncertainty. The IAAF plans to make its final decision on the country’s participation in late March of this year. As it stands now, Russia is ineligible to participate in the Olympics.
Considering the terse relationship between Russia and most of the rest of the world at large, banning Russia from the 2016 Summer Olympics will only further cool relations among the world’s superpowers. While banning the whole country for a sizable doping scandal may send strong message that the IAAF has a low tolerance for this sort of behavior, it may be too extreme.
In other news, 2016 marks 100 years since the first Modern Olympics Games were cancelled, due to World War I.
With respect to security, Brazil claims that it is “ready” for the 2016 Olympics, and has made arrangements for all types of safety precautions, in light of the recent terrorist activities within the past year.
Forbes contains an interesting article that suggests hosting an Olympics, more often than not, results in a sluggish or stifled economy. The article focuses on GDP, which is a common feature economists examine to determine the health of a nation’s economy.
Finally, Ryan Hall, a famous U.S. marathoner, has announced his retirement at age 33. Among his many exploits, Hall has made two Olympic teams (Beijing 2008, London 2012), and an American record. He has etched his way into becoming one of America’s greatest marathoners, making it possible for Americans to imagine challenging African marathoners, a continent that has typically dominated distance-running in the world.