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Balakhnichev to step aside as Wada probes Russian doping allegations

Valentin Balakhnichev, the head of the governing body for athletics in Russia, has stepped down from his role as treasurer of the IAAF, the sport’s global governing body, while allegations of systemic doping by athletes in the country are investigated.

Balakhnichev (pictured) told the Tass agency that he had stepped down voluntarily and plans to return to his role at the IAAF at “the end of the investigation into this doping scandal.”

He has said that he and his national association have been subjected to “brutal persecution” since allegations about widespread doping and the falsifying of test results in Russia were aired in a German television documentary by public-service broadcaster ARD. He added that the claims represented “a provocation aimed at undermining Russian sport"

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said yesterday (Wednesday) that it would undertake a full investigation into the claims. “The allegations that have been raised in the German television programmes require close scrutiny… to confirm the evidence, seek further evidence, and pursue any anti-doping rule violations,” Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said.

Wada will confirm details of the probe and the investigation panel at a later date, but the Russian Sports Ministry has promised that Wada investigators will receive “complete assistance” from the Russian authorities. The IAAF has labelled the reports “grave allegations.”