Cloud over IAAF election highlights need for Ethics Commission
DAEGU, August, 2011 - The longest World Athletics Federation elections of the century were not only embarrassing for the breakdown in the electronic equipment but also because of someone who, in a sports sense, arrived almost out of the blue (the organiser of the Dubai Marathon) and obtained more votes than anyone else in the race for the position of member of the Board.
The person concerned is a tiny man with a winning, polite smile, who answers to the name of Ahmed Al Kamali - President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Athletics Federation, where athletics is not exactly at home. However, he received 137 votes, leaving expert senior managers who have given their lives to sport behind.
The Allelujia caravan - How could that happen? A stroke of luck? Mistaken identity? An error which infected most of the delegates bewitched by that smile? Unfortunately, no. We were in the corridor outside the Conference Hall and, just before the vote, our man was directing the traffic of the Allelujia caravan, i.e., the Gravy Train, the groups of delegates, accompanied by wives or girlfriends, who, arriving from a side corridor and the escalators from below, had the smile of someone struck by sudden well-being when they passed in front of him... This euphoria gave him 137 votes, an enormous number.
The invitation - We've been told that, in the last few days, president Diack had invited him to firstly create a real athletics movement in his country and then put himself forward as a candidate. But the little man shrugged. He found a quartet of lobbyists of elastic morality and went on the attack. He probably knew that the ground was fertile for unscrupulous operations and, in the end, it paid off, he reached his objective in fine style.
The moral - If the federation doesn't immediately create a commission of inquiry, a dangerous precedent will be set as, next time, the president will be chosen by the Alleluia caravan and, at that point, how will senior managers be able to insist that athletes are as serious and honest as Benedictine monks?
The doubt - We're tormented by the doubt that the sudden feeling of well-being we saw on those faces hides some shameful secret. We hope that we're mistaken but, to prevent those doubts from tormenting the conscience of others as well, it would be appropriate for the IAAF to also immediately create an ethics commission and open the inquiry. We would be the first to be happy and we apologise if we've interpreted wrongly but, if we are right, then the operation of the governing body must be exemplary. There are no half measures and compromises in the face of doubtful morality.