Athletics: Ex-head of Russian track and field body fears prosecution over doping scandal

Russia's former athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichev.
Russia's former athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichev.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's former athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichev said on Monday (Jan 18) there was a "real danger" he could face criminal charges over a doping and bribery scandal for which he denies responsibility.

Balakhnichev, who also served as treasurer of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 2011 to 2014, was banned for life this month by the IAAF ethics commission for allegedly taking bribes to cover up doping by Russian athletes.

In a interview with AFP, he defended his actions as president of the All Russian Athletics Federation (Araf) from 1991 to 2015, saying he had done everything he could to prevent cheating by track and field athletes.

"What more could I have done?" Balakhnichev, 66, said. "I couldn't hold the athletes by the hand."