Former world champion sprinter Frankie Fredericks has been provisionally suspended from the IAAF’s ruling council pending an ethics investigation, athletics’ ruling body said Monday.
Fredericks was stood down amid a probe by the IAAF’s integrity unit led by former English Court of Appeal judge Anthony Hooper, the IAAF said.
Fredericks had already stepped aside as head of the IOC’s evaluation commission for the 2024 Olympics, but the IAAF said it felt it had no choice but to officially suspend him too.
“The order for provisional suspension does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation which the athletics integrity unit is carrying out,” the IAAF said.
In March French daily Le Monde said the former sprinter received $299,300 (262,000 euros) from Papa Massata Diack, son of ex-IAAF president Lamine Diack, on October 2, 2009, the day Rio de Janeiro was awarded the right to host the 2016 Olympics.
Papa Massata and Lamine Diack both face charges in France over millions of dollars paid to cover up doping failures by Russian athletes.
French investigators are also looking into the possibility that bribes were paid over the awarding of the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio and the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The widely popular Fredericks insists that the payments were for promoting athletics events and the IAAF said Monday the suspension was not a presumption of guilt.
The Namibian says the payment had to do with a contract that had been signed in March 2007 for promotional services between 2007 and 2011.
He is appealing the suspension, insisting in a statement that he “did not break the IAAF’s code of ethics”.
He claims the IAAF’s decision to suspend him was based on “inaccuracies”.
Former 200m world champion Fredericks won silver in the 100m and 200m at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.
He is Namibia’s only Olympic medal winner.