The former Olympic official who ran the sport of weightlifting for more than 40 years was banned for life on Thursday for covering up doping cases.
Tamás Aján of Hungary was found guilty in connection with forgery, fraud and complicity in the cover-up of multi-year doping cases, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said.
The incident comes after allegations broadcast by German network ARD in January 2020 were verified by anti-doping investigator Richard McLaren.
McLaren was appointed by the International Weightlifting Federation when Aján was forced out of his job after 20 years as president. He was general secretary for the previous 24 years.
The fallout from the incident and the IWF’s response to it put weightlifting’s Olympic status at risk. The International Olympic Committee has removed weightlifting from its original list of sports for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
A trusted sports leader, Aján was an IOC member for 10 years until 2010 and helped select the host cities for the Olympics. He also represents Olympic sports at the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The CAS statement said the case against Aján involved “complicity in an anti-doping rule violation involving multiple weightlifters over a period of many years since 2012”.
During that period, Aján sat on the founding board of WADA and was an honorary member of the IOC. He resigned from the IOC within weeks of the allegations being made.
A life ban for complicity has also been imposed on Romanian weightlifting official Nicu Vlad, former vice chairman of the IWF Anti-Doping Committee.
CAS did not specify the allegations on Thursday, but said it would publish a detailed ruling “in due time.”
In its June 2020 report, McLaren said his team had found “systemic governance failures and corruption at the highest levels of the IWF.”
McLaren says at least 40 doping positive tests are “hidden” in IWF records, that athletes with covered cases have won medals at major championships and Aján has received fines from member unions. The investigation concluded that millions of dollars were not counted by the IWF.
Doping problems in the history of weightlifting were also confirmed in an IOC reanalysis program of specimens from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics using a test. new to steroid detection. Weightlifting has more than 20 doping cases at each Olympics.
The life ban was announced 10 days before the IWF held elections, including the replacement of Aján by the president more than two years after he was ousted.
Aján’s son-in-law, Attila Adamfi, is one of 16 candidates for secretary-general on the list released by the IWF last month. Adamfi was the director general of the IWF at the end of Aján’s presidency.