Papa Massata Diack, the son of former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack, has described allegations he was part of a corrupt system involved in determining the hosting rights for the Olympic Games as the “biggest lie in the history of world sport”.
The process of assigning hosting rights for major sporting events returned to the news agenda last week as the home of Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), was raided by the country’s federal police as part of an investigation into suspicions of vote-buying in the build-up to the award of the hosting rights for the 2016 summer Olympic Games to Rio de Janeiro.
France’s financial prosecutor said last week that Papa Massata Diack had been at the centre of a corruption racket, adding that there were “several consistent indications” that payments had been made in return for the votes of IAAF and International Olympic Committee (IOC) members over the designation of host cities for the “biggest global sporting events”.
“This accusation is the biggest lie in the history of world sport,” Diack told the Reuters news agency in Senegal.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport last month upheld a life ban imposed by the IAAF on Papa Massata Diack, who had formerly served as a marketing consultant for the body. Lamine Diack remains in custody in France as investigations continue, and his son blamed the accusations on a smear campaign to tarnish his father’s reputation.
“Sometimes I accompanied my father to assist in his personal work, but to say that I organised votes… my job was to help the IAAF identify countries to organise sporting events,” Papa Massata Diack said.
Brazilian investigators said last week that politicians and Nuzman arranged a $2m (€1.68m) bribe for Lamine Diack’s vote and for him to convince other IOC members from Africa to secure the 2016 Games for Rio de Janeiro.
Papa Massata Diack remains the subject of an international arrest warrant.