Frankie Fredericks with the Olympic torch prior to the Rio Games
Former sprinter Frankie Fredericks has been provisionally suspended from athletics pending an investigation into a potential ethics violation.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) is investigating an alleged payment of $ 300,000 Fredericks received from Papa Massata Diack, the son of disgraced IAAF president Lamine Diack, on the day Rio won the vote to host the 2016 Olympics, reports Eurosport.
“Earlier this year Fredericks, an International Olympic Committee member, stepped down as head of the team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Olympics and has also removed himself from the IAAF taskforce investigating doping allegations in Russia, after the corruption allegations surfaced in Le Monde newspaper,” says the site.
Le Monde claimed the money was paid first to Diack by a wealthy Brazilian businessman in 2009, days before Rio won the vote to host the 2016 Olympics, and was intended to influence IOC voters.
However, the four-time Olympic silver medallist says the payment was legitimate and “related to his role in the promoting of several athletics events”, reports the BBC.
Fredericks, 49, retired in 2004 and went on to become a senior figure at both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
“As head of the IOC evaluation commission, Fredericks was to lead an inspection visit to 2024 candidate cities Los Angeles and Paris,” adds the BBC.
The news comes less than two months before the IOC will decide on the host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.
Paris and Los Angeles are the only two candidates, but both would prefer to hold the Games in 2024.
The IOC votes on 13 September, after deciding to choose the host cities for both events at the same time.
Despite the suspension, the AIU said Fredericks would retain “the presumption of innocence until the conclusion of that investigative process”.