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Thursday, November 18, 1999 Published at 15:47 GMT


Drug hearing drags on for Christie

Christie wins the bronze medal at the 1987 wolrd Championships

British sprinter Linford Christie will find out in the next 24 hours whether he is likely to be banned from international athletics following his positive test for nandrolone earlier this year.

The International Amateur Athletics Federation were due to hear his case on Thursday but spent the day deliberatings over a new president to replace the late Primo Nebiolo.

The 26-strong council voted in Senegal's Lamine Diack, who has been senior vice-president since 1991 and a former French long jump champion.

[ image: Diack: The third most important figure in world sport]
Diack: The third most important figure in world sport
Christie tested positive for metabolites of the steroid nandrolone were found in his urine samples following a test at an indoor meeting in Dortmund in February.

But he was cleared unanimously of drug charges by a three-strong UK Athletics disciplinary committee in September.

However the IAAF could still overrule the domestic body and refer the case to an arbitration panel which could impose a two-year ban on Christie, as they have done in other cases.

From a practical point of view a ban would have no effect on 39-year-old Christie, who retired from international competition two years ago although he still races at the occasional meeting.

But it would be extremely damaging to the personal credibility of an athelete who has spent his entire career campaigning against drugs in sport.

The IAAF's hearing into his case was delayed due to the appointment of Diack.

The 66-year-old has been the senior vice-president since 1991 and a vice-president since 1976.

He assumed control of the world governing body after Nebiolo died of a heart attack in Rome on November 7.

Diack is now arguably the third most important person in world sport after International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch and world soccer chief Sepp Blatter.

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