Paula Radcliffe has made the curious decision to join a PR company that uses sacked former IAAF communications chief Nick Davies.
Last year Davies was fired after 24 years at the world governing body of athletics for lying to investigators about receiving secret payments totalling €30,000 from the disgraced former IAAF marketing executive Papa Massata Diack.
But Radcliffe, who serves as vice-chair of the IAAF athletes commission, has become the first major client of the new sports division at London-based Pagefield PR.
On Wednesday, Pagefield partner Liam Parker said Davies works only on a consultancy basis for the firm, principally using his extensive contacts book to help them acquire new clients.
Both Parker and Radcliffe confirmed that Davies had introduced the former marathon star and BBC pundit to the company.
Sportsmail has, however, seen one email – sent by another external consultant on behalf of Pagefield – which states that the ‘newly-formed sports division’ of the agency is ‘headed up by former IAAF communications director Nick Davies’.
Parker insisted that is not the case and that he heads the sports division, which also lists Dina Asher-Smith as a client. He said Davies does not work on Radcliffe’s or any other account. He was also keen to stress that Davies was cleared of corruption, was not banned from working in athletics and insisted he ‘deserves a second chance’.
Davies was cleared of corruption after he was suspended by the IAAF in June 2016 following allegations that he was one of three officials who took money to delay naming Russian drug cheats ahead of the World Championships in Moscow in 2013.
But he was fired. Having initially denied it to the IAAF ethics board, Davies eventually admitted receiving payments of €25,000 and then €5,000 in cash from Papa Diack, the son of similarly disgraced former IAAF president Lamine Diack, in envelopes.
On Wednesday night Radcliffe said she was ‘really happy’ with Pagefield. ‘I don’t see what the issue is,’ she said. ‘Nick is a genuinely decent guy who made a mistake. He’s admitted it, paid for it and I don’t think he should have to pay for it for the rest of his life.’