7 Nov 2015

Athletics governing body cans Monaco gala

2:15 pm on 7 November 2015

The governing body of world athletics, the IAAF, has cancelled this month's gala in Monaco after former president Lamine Diack was placed under investigation on suspicion of corruption and money-laundering.

IThe former IAAF president Lamine Diack.

The former IAAF president Lamine Diack. Photo: Supplied

The annual black-tie event, which honours the world's top athletes, had been scheduled for 28 November.

"It is with great disappointment that we have to inform you that this year's IAAF World Athletics Gala has been cancelled," IAAF director Nick Davies wrote in an email to his organisation's press commission members.

"We understand you were very much looking forward to celebrating another year of spectacular athletics in Monaco, but this is not the right time nor the right context to pay tribute to the best athletes of our sport. They deserve to be honoured at a time when the situation will be restored."

The IAAF said it would make an official statement shortly.

The gala is held under the auspices of the International Athletics Foundation, a charity whose honorary president is Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Jamaican sprint champion Usain Bolt, British runner Mo Farah and Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers are among those nominated for athlete of the year honours.

Diack is alleged to have received over $1.6 million in bribes in 2011 to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes, the office of France's financial prosecutor said.

The 82-year-old Senegalese was placed under formal investigation in France this week and questioned by authorities before being released on bail of 500,000 euros and banned from leaving the country.

He served as president of the IAAF from 1999 until August this year when he was succeeded by Sebastian Coe.

The French investigation followed a complaint by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday to address findings of its own probe.

WADA launched a commission to investigate allegations raised during German broadcaster ARD's December 2014 documentary on doping in Russia.

- Reuters