MOSCOW, August 21. /TASS/. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the verdict to suspend for life from all sports-related activities the former president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), Valentin Balakhnichev, and Alexei Melnikov, former Chief ARAF Coach for long distance walkers and runners.
The CAS heard the appeals from Balakhnichev and Melnikov in October 2016.
"The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeals filed by Valentin Balakhnichev, Alexei Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack (son of IAAF’s ex-President Lamine Diack) against the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Ethics Commission decision dated 7 January 2016. The IAAF Ethics Commission decision is confirmed and Valentin Balakhnichev, Alexei Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack remain banned for life from any involvement in the sport of athletics," a media release said.
"The Panel concluded that on the evidence adduced, the charges against Messrs Balakhnichev, Melnikov and Diack were established beyond reasonable doubt and that the sanctions imposed should be upheld," it said.
In January 2016, the IAAF Ethics Commission banned Balakhnichev and Melnikov from any sports-related activities. Balakhnichev was found guilty of entering a conspiracy with Diack and Melnikov against opening proceedings on doping-abuse charges in regard to Russian athlete Lilia Shobukhova. The later allegedly transferred money to the officials at the issue to avoid suspension after caught using performance enhancing drugs.
Balakhnichev also did not report to the IAAF that Shobukhova had transferred money to Melnikov to continue her performance at athletics competitions. He was also accused of taking no measures to bar Shobukhova from participating in the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2012 Chicago Marathon.
The former ARAF president has denied his guilt and does not consider the proofs provided by the IAAF Committee to be material. He considers the Committee’s decision to be politically motivated.
Balakhnichev held the post of the president of ARAF since 1991 and he resigned in 2015 following a chain of high-profile doping scandals involving Russian track and field athletes.