USA Track & Field puts president on leave during investigation

Indianapolis-based USA Track & Field has placed its president, Vin Lananna, on temporary leave to avoid potential conflict-of-interest concerns over an investigation into the awarding of the 2021 world championships to Eugene, Oregon.

The Department of Justice is investigating possible racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges related to the awarding of both the Eugene championships and the 2019 championships to Doha, Qatar.

Lananna has long served as president of TrackTown USA, the not-for-profit that hosts events in Eugene. He led Eugene's efforts to land the championships, which were awarded without a bid process.

USATF chairman Steve Miller said nobody at the federation believes Lananna committed wrongdoing, but the move was made to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.

USATF is the national governing body for the sports of track and field, cross country, road running and racewalking.

"USATF has no reason to believe TrackTown and/or Mr. Lananna have done anything wrong and understand that they have been told that they are not a target of the investigation," Miller said in written comments. "But to avoid any conflict or appearance of conflict of interest in relation to the investigation, the board voted to place Mr. Lananna on temporary administrative leave until the Department of Justice investigation pertaining to TrackTown and the 2021 World Championships is resolved."

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