Vin Lananna: US athletics president put on leave amid investigation

USA Track and Field president Vin Lananna
USA Track and Field president Vin Lananna led Eugene's successful bid for the 2021 World Championships

The United States Athletics Federation has put its president on "temporary administrative leave" amid an investigation into bids for international athletics events.

The Department of Justice investigation includes the decision to stage the 2021 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Athletics' governing body, the IAAF, bypassed the usual formal bidding process to award it the event in 2015.

Vin Lananna led Eugene's 2021 bid in his role as president of TrackTown USA.

The USA Track and Field (USATF) board voted to put Lananna, 65, on leave until the investigation, which was revealed by the BBC in June, is resolved.

"USATF has no reason to believe TrackTown and/or Lananna have done anything wrong and understand that they have been told that they are not a target of the investigation," said board chair Steve Miller.

He added the organisation had placed Lananna on leave "to avoid any conflict or appearance of conflict of interest in relation to the investigation."

Lananna said he is "surprised and taken aback" by the decision.

"I have been committed to track and field and the members of this federation for over 40 years, and I am dedicated to continuing my service to the sport," he said.

"I do not agree that this action was necessary."

A USATF statement said it had encouraged Lannana, who was elected its president in 2016, to "continue co-operating truthfully" with the DOJ investigation.

The BBC learned last year that the Criminal Division of America's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is under the jurisdiction of the DOJ, were investigating the decision to award Eugene the 2021 World Championships.

In January, the New York Times reported the DOJ is "exploring possible racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges" related to the Eugene bid, the decision to award the 2019 world championships to Doha, Qatar and executives who consulted on several other bids for elite competitions.

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