Richard McLaren to lead investigation into allegations of weightlifting corruption

February 03, 2020

Richard McLaren

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board has appointed Western Law professor Richard McLaren to lead an investigation into alleged weightlifting corruption.

The allegations were made in the TV documentary series Secret Doping – Lord of the Lifters, which was aired by the German-state broadcaster ARD on January 5.

According to the statement released by McLaren Global Sport Solutions last week, the documentary “claimed leadership of the IWF, including President Ajan, participated in and/or had knowledge of financial irregularities, corruption, doping control distribution, doping sample manipulation, doping payment regularities, doping activities in specific nations, and nepotism.”

An acting president has been put in place by the IWF for the next 90 days while McLaren’s team completes their independent investigation. McLaren will be the Investigation Chair, while Martin Dubbey and Steven Berryman will be the Chief Investigator and Financial Investigator, respectively.

“I want to thank the IWF for their trust in me and my team. As independent investigators, we intend to follow every lead with the ultimate objective of uncovering the truth,” said McLaren in the statement.

McLaren will liaise with the IWF Executive Board through the newly-established IWF Oversight and Integrity Commission.

“We need someone who is not a friend of weightlifting to look into these serious and historic allegations … If we are to get to the bottom of this, we required an investigator whose findings will be trusted and undeniable. That is why we selected Professor McLaren,” said IWF acting president Ursula Garza.

This is not the first time McLaren has been appointed to investigate misconduct allegations in the sports industry. His work verifying a Russian whistleblower’s claims of cheating and coverups at the 2014 Sochi Olympics resulted in the World Anti-Doping Association banning the country from 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

McLaren graduated from Western Law with his LLB in 1971. He is now an Adjunct Research Professor who has taught courses in the areas of sports law, alternative dispute resolution, commercial law, and business law. McLaren also works as a lawyer at London-based firm McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP.