International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Frank Fredericks has removed himself from his role as Chair of the Evaluation Commission for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games bids.
The popular Namibian sprinter, who was chosen to lead the team that will develop reports on bids to host the Games from Los Angeles and Paris, has stepped down amid allegations from French police last week that he may have been connected to a bribery investigation involving the election of Rio to host the 2016 Olympics.
Fredericks has denied any wrongdoing but feels the move is “in the best interests of the bidding process” while the investigation continues.
The French investigation uncovered evidence that through a holding company on October 2, 2009 – the same day Rio was elected host city – almost $300,000 was transferred to an account in the Seychelles that has been linked to the Namibian sprinter who was the election scrutineer when IOC members voted for Rio to host the Games in 2016.
The funds, investigators say, originated from an account linked to a wealthy Brazilian involved in construction projects in Rio. Papa Massata Diack, son of then voting IOC member Papa Diack who has since been arrested on other corruption charges, was also allegedly involved in the suspicious transaction.
Fredericks has said that the date and circumstances of the transaction are merely coincidental and that the payment was made to complete a legitimate marketing business transaction.
On Monday Fredericks also resigned as a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Taskforce which is overseeing Russia’s potential reinstatement after being excluded from the Rio Games in wake of the Sochi doping scandal.
The Olympic medalist sprinter was chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission from 2008 and 2012, and was also scrutineer for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games host city election that was marred by controversy when there was a problem with the electronic voting and the ballot had to be retaken on paper. Beijing defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan by four votes.
The Evaluation Commission is set for three-day site inspection visits starting in Los Angeles on April 23 and later in Paris beginning May 14. The team has already provided dashboard reports to the IOC Executive Board at the end of the previous two bid phases and will be tasked with completing a comprehensive evaluation ahead of bid technical presentations scheduled to be held in Lausanne in July.
The IOC has yet to name a replacement for this critical role. Often Evaluation Commission chairs move on to lead the Coordination Commission that helps guide the winning host city through to the staging of the Games.
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