David Howman, chairman of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), has issued a warning that the body will be "relentless" in their pursuit of athletes who cheat and claimed establishment of the organization will be a defining moment in the future of the sport.
In a letter addressed to athletes, the former director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), remarked the remit of AIU is not solely focused on doping. Howman outlined the AIU responsibilities, including stamping out any and all forms of corruption and ethical misconduct within the sport. The New Zealander said the Athletics Integrity Unit was dedicated to working towards driving cheats out of our sport.
Athletes were also urged by Howman to come forward to provide information of wrongdoing within the sport from fellow competitors, coaches, or officials. Howman said he firmly believes that athletes who seek to cheat or defraud their fellow competitors have no place in this sport and went on to comment that he promises athletes that the AIU will use every means available to us in our relentless pursuit of these athletes and those who support them. Howman also remarked we will be transparent in our activities and clear in our intentions and added he is not concerned with public relations exercises. Howman also remarked he is concerned with is doing everything in his power to support our honest athletes around the world who dedicate their lives to reaching their sporting goals through two values we all cherish: dedication and hard work.
In the letter, Howman also said that establishment of the AIU will change forever how integrity issues are dealt with in athletics, and, given the recent challenges the sport has faced, he believes there exists a real opportunity for us to demonstrate leadership on integrity issues by providing an example for other sports and federations to follow in future. The former director general of WADA added we are tasked with stamping out any and all forms of corruption and ethical misconduct within the sport. Howman said this means the relentless pursuit of any official or other person who breaches the new Integrity Code of Conduct, including those who seek to manipulate results, who act fraudulently with regards to transfers of allegiance, or who engage in age manipulation in connection with our junior and youth events.
The AIU was established after the corruption scandal involving former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack. The ex-IAAF chief and others were implicated in a scheme to blackmail Russian athletes to avoid suspension following positive drugs tests.
Howman was in charge at the World Anti-Doping Agency when WADA launched an independent commission that uncovered evidence of state-supported doping in Russian athletics. The revelations of the commission resulted in the suspension of Russia from the world track and field governing body, the IAAF, November 2015. Russian track and field athletes were barred at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. They, including some exempted players, are also likely to be barred from this year's IAAF World Championships in London.
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