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Two Russian Officials Banned For Life In IAAF Scandal

Two Russian officials have been banned for life by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after an investigation into blackmail, extortion, and doping cover-ups, the federations' ethics committee says.

Former Russian athletics federation head Valentin Balakhnichev was banned for life along with Aleksei Melnikov, former head coach of Russia's race-walking and long-distance running programs.

In addition, Balakhnichev and Melnikov were fined $25,000 and $15,000, respectively.

The sanctions centered on the case of Russian marathoner Lilia Shobukhova, who was allegedly extorted out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid a doping ban before the 2012 London Olympics.

Balakhnichev, who was also treasurer for the IAAF, said the move appeared aimed at "discrediting Russian sport."

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the "decision was expected and there is no sense in appealing."

An IAAF task force will visit Russia next week to inspect the country's response to the scandal.

The IAAF also ordered a life ban on the son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack over corruption allegations.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP