“In order to demonstrate that I am willing to have all allegations of unethical behaviour on my part in 2013 properly and fairly investigated, I have referred my emails to Papa Massata Diack in 2013, my statements and the circumstances of the emails to the IAAF ethics board,” Davies said in yesterday’s statement. Davies has suggested that emails reflected his job “to manage and promote the reputation of the IAAF”. Russia’s athletics federation was suspended by the IAAF after a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission found evidence of systemic doping and cover-ups. Lamine Diack is now accused of “active corruption”, which generally involves offering money or other promises in exchange for violating a rule, an official with the Paris financial prosecutor’s office said yesterday. Diack was previously accused of “passive corruption”, on suspicion he took around €1 million (US$1.1 million) to cover up positive drug tests by Russian athletes. The official told the Associated Press the new preliminary charges center on suspicions that Diack bribed Gabriel Dolle, the former IAAF anti-doping chief who was also under investigation, to delay reporting of violations by Russian athletes. The preliminary charges allow magistrates more time to investigate before deciding whether to file formal charges and whether to send a case to trial. Diack, an 82-year-old former long jumper, is free on bail pending further investigation, but barred from leaving France. EMAILS REFERRED TO BOARD LONDON (AP): The director of IAAF President Sebastian Coe’s office temporarily stepped down yesterday pending an ethics investigation into emails linked to Russian doping cases. Emails sent by Nick Davies, leaked to a French newspaper and published this week, indicated that he tried to delay public identification of alleged Russian drug cheats before the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. “I have decided to step aside from my role with the IAAF until such time as the ethics board is able to review the matter properly and decide if I am responsible for any breach of the IAAF code of ethics,” Davies said in a statement. Davies was IAAF communications director at the time under Lamine Diack, who was succeeded by Coe as president in August. The French criminal case against Diack deepened this week, with magistrates filing new, tougher corruption charges against him in connection with cover-ups of Russian doping. French prosecutors also suspect Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, a former IAAF marketing consultant, played an active role in an alleged “system of corruption” that sought to blackmail athletes, with demands of money to hush-up suspected doping. Davies is reported to have sent an email to Papa Massata Diack in 2013 asking what “Russian ‘skeleton’ we have still in the cupboard regarding doping” and suggesting using the marketing company chaired by Coe – then IAAF vice-president – to lead an “unofficial PR campaign” to “avoid international media scandals” related to the Moscow championships. If Russian athletes guilty of doping were not competing in Moscow, “then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them”, Davies wrote in the email, which was published on Monday by Le Monde. After promoting Davies to run his office at the IAAF in September, Coe is now losing one of his closest aides just as he tries to clean up the scandal-tainted governing body.
VILLA (4-1-4-1)GUZAN, HUTTON, OKORE, LESCOTT, BACUNA, SANCHEZ,WESTWOOD, VERETOUT, GANA, SINCLAIR, AYEWLEICESTER (4-4-2)VARDY, OKAZAKI,MAHREZ, KING, KANTE, ALBRIGHTON,DE LAET, FUCHS, MORGAN, SIMPSON,SCHMEICHELLeicester City are now level at the top of the Barclays Premier League with Arsenal after beating Spurs 1-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday thanks to Robert Huth’s late winner at White Hart Lane.It ended their run of three games without a league win, while Huth’s goal was Leicester’s first in 374 minutes.On Tuesday, Aston Villa claimed their first win in the Barclays Premier League in 157 days when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 thanks to a goal from central defender Joleon Lescott.It was also Villa’s first Premier League win in 20 attempts, having lost 14 of the previous 19.They remain at the foot of the table and face high-riding Leicester City next.The most common Premier League result between these teams at Villa Park is a draw. In nine clashes, four have been drawn while Villa have won three and Leicester two.When they met at the King Power Stadium in September it was a remarkable game. Villa led 2-0 but Leicester struck three times in the final 18 minutes, with Nathan Dyer stealing an 89th-minute winner.
“When you hear on the Wednesday morning that you’re arriving at the weekend with a penalty already, of course, that changes the approach to the weekend and it changes the mindset a little bit,” he said at the track yesterday. “But for me, a challenge is an opportunity to rise.” Rosberg is confident after sweeping the races in Australia and Bahrain to start the season – and capturing five straight races going back to last season – but he knows he can’t count Hamilton out, particularly on a track where the British driver has prevailed four times before. “A Hamilton that starts sixth is still going to challenge for the win and we know that,” Rosberg said. “I’m not taking anything for granted at all.” Hamilton noted that his teammate will most likely have an “easier weekend” with his penalty, but added: “I’m going to be pushing as hard as I can. It doesn’t mean I can’t win the race.” SHANGHAI (AP): Reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton will have to make up considerable ground in the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday if he’s going to capture his first race of the season, and close the gap with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ standings. Hamilton received a five-place grid penalty in Shanghai for making an early switch of his gearbox after it was damaged in a collision at the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago. Hamilton, though, seemed unfazed by the fact he can only start as high as sixth in Sunday’s race, even though he’s already 17 points behind Rosberg in the standings following a disappointing start to the season. RISE TO THE CHALLENGE TECHNICAL ISSUES Ferrari will also be looking to challenge the Mercedes cars after a series of technical issues slowed the team’s start to the year. Sebastian Vettel was forced out of the race in Bahrain with engine failure on the warm-up lap, and Kimi Raikkonen failed to finish in Australia due to a problem with the turbo charger. “We didn’t have the start that we wanted, which is not a big secret,” Vettel said. “The performance is not yet where we want to be. But there’s nothing that shakes me or makes me nervous for this season or the next couple races because I know that this team is very strong.” McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, is looking forward to just getting behind the wheel again following a frightening crash at the season-opening race in Melbourne that left his car in a mangled heap on the track and him with a fractured rib.