IAAF threatens suit against Reynolds

December 05, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

One day after a U.S. federal judge awarded Butch Reynold $27.3 million in his lawsuit against the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the governing body for track and field called the decision "worthless" and hinted that it might take further disciplinary action against the world-record holder in the 400 meters.

In a statement released yesterday, the IAAF reiterated that it would not comply with the court order. It also said that it is contemplating a counter-suit against Reynolds for libel and an extension of his suspension beyond Dec. 31.

"In continuing this campaign against the IAAF, he has made a number of libelous allegations about the conduct of the IAAF and its officials," the statement said. "Initially, the IAAF took no legal action against Mr. Reynolds, regarding these outbursts as representing merely the frustration of a justifiably punished athlete.

"However, at the next IAAF Council meeting [Jan. 22-24, 1993], [it] will consider the possibility of commencing proceedings against Mr. Reynolds for libel and taking further disciplinary action under IAAF rules against [him]."

Reynolds, 28, has been waging a legal battle against the IAAF since he was suspended from competition in August, 1990, for failing a drug test for an anabolic steroid. The length of the suspension was two years, but it was extended until the end of this year because his efforts to have it overturned were considered damaging to the sport. He contends that he is innocent and that his positive test resulted from mistakes in a Paris laboratory.

Responding to the statement, one of Reynolds' attorneys, John Gall, called the IAAF a "vengeful and vindictive group."

Reynolds, who is training in Portola Valley, Calif., is scheduled to run in the Millrose Games on Feb. 5 at New York.

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