Arbitrator Rules USATF President Lananna Should Be Reinstated
An arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that former USA Track & Field President VIN LANANNA "should be reinstated," effective immediately, according to Ken Goe of the Portland OREGONIAN. Lananna was elected to a four-year term by "acclamation at the USATF annual meeting" in '16. But he "almost immediately had a contentious relationship with members" of the BOD, including former USATF Chair STEVE MILLER. Much of the "contention centered around Lananna's position at the time" as President of TrackTown USA, the local organizing committee in Eugene, Ore., "responsible for helping USATF stage events" including the U.S. Olympic Trials. Lananna also "led the successful USATF bid that secured" the '21 World Outdoor Championships for Hayward Field. In February '18, after it "became public that Lananna had been interviewed as part of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into global corruption in sport," the BOD "placed Lananna on temporary administrative leave." Even at the time, it was "unclear" whether the USATF bid for the '21 WOC was the "subject of the investigation, or whether other USATF officials also had been interviewed." Lananna and his allies within USATF "contended the move was a way to circumvent his election as president without having to go back to the membership as required by USATF bylaws." Lananna resigned as TrackTown USA President in summer '18 (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/6).
WIN FOR THE RULE OF LAW: MARK LAMBERT, Lananna’s attorney, called the win a victory for the “rule of law” in Olympic sports. He drew a parallel with the sex abuse scandals at USA Gymnastics and other NGBs, which investigators have found were at least partially caused by poor board oversight and governance. “The principles of sound corporate governance in Olympic sports -- it’s a matter of great public interest, and Congressional interest, that these NGBs follow the rules they’ve imposed on themselves, and do so with diligence and precision,” Lambert said. “And when they don’t, and deviate from those things, and put their discretion over the rules they’ve adopted for governance, it can bring great peril to these organizations.” The arbitrator’s decision has not been made public yet, but Lambert said it found the USATF board acted against the purposes of its bylaws, which were designed to give the membership -- and only the membership -- authority to remove the president. The USOPC has acted against several NGBs this year for not adhering to bylaws. “In this case there were no true victims, no personal tragedies like there were in Gymnastics or Swimming or some other sports like that,” Lambert said. “But it’s the abandonment of the rule of law that I think is of great concern to the public, and certainly of great concern to Vin, and that was a strong motivating force behind him enforcing these bylaws" (Ben Fischer, THE DAILY).