Eugene athletics bid chief placed on leave
Los Angeles, Feb 20 (AFP) The head of the United States successful bid for the 2021 World Athletics Championships has been placed on temporary leave after he was contacted by US federal authorities looking into corruption in the sport.
Vin Lananna, who is president of the USA Track and Field board of directors, was contacted "months ago" by the authorities regarding his role in securing the championships for the city of Eugene, Oregon.
"In a step taken to help eliminate potential conflict of interest concerns as the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigates the bids for several international athletic championships, the USATF board of directors on Sunday placed USATF President and board Vice Chairman Vin Lananna on temporary administrative leave," the USATF said in a news release yesterday.
Lananna was elected president of the board in 2016 and also serves as president of Eugene-based TrackTown USA.
"USATF has no reason to believe TrackTown and/or Mr. Lananna have done anything wrong and understand that they have been told that they are not a target of the investigation," USATF chairman Steve Miller said in a prepared statement.
"But to avoid any conflict or appearance of conflict of interest in relation to the investigation, the board voted to place Mr. Lananna on temporary administrative leave until the Department of Justice investigation pertaining to TrackTown and the 2021 World Championships is resolved."
Lananna has stated previously that he was confident any investigation into the awarding of the games would find no evidence of wrongdoing.
Eugene was awarded the championships -- which will be the first time the United States has ever hosted the event -- after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) skipped a formal bidding process.
Instead, Eugene was awarded the games after a 23-1 vote by the IAAF Council in Beijing last April.
The decision to award the championships by a council vote was made at the behest of former IAAF President Lamine Diack, who is now under investigation for corruption