Coe ‘shocked and an­gry’ at IAAF dop­ing bribery scan­dal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

PARIS: IAAF pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe yes­ter­day ex­pressed his “shock, anger and sad­ness” at al­le­ga­tions of high-level bribery to cover up dop­ing in track and field. “I’m shocked, an­gry and largely sad­dened,” Coe told AFP, adding that the al­le­ga­tions that sur­faced on Mon­day had come as a com­plete sur­prise. “The al­le­ga­tions that we woke up to around the po­ten­tial for ex­tor­tion and black­mail came out of the blue and the vast ma­jor­ity in the sport prob­a­bly share ex­actly the same emo­tions I’ve just ex­pressed. It’s shock, anger and sad­ness.”

Lamine Di­ack, from whom Coe took over the man­tle of IAAF pres­i­dent in Au­gust, was on Wed­nes­day charged by French po­lice with cor­rup­tion over sus­pi­cions he took bribes worth more than one mil­lion eu­ros ($1.09 mil­lion) to cover up dop­ing cases in­volv­ing Rus­sian ath­letes. The IAAF have also opened dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings against one of Di­ack’s sons and three oth­ers in­clud­ing their own former trea­surer and ex-dop­ing chief. Asked whether he had been in touch with Lamine Di­ack, the 82-yearold Sene­galese who he had praised as the “spir­i­tual leader” of the IAAF when he won the elec­tion to suc­ceed him, Coe replied: “No.”

Coe added: “I’m de­ter­mined more than ever that we will drive the re­view that I started the day af­ter I be­came elected. Through the IAAF, we will drive those and ac­cel­er­ate them even harder.

“The al­le­ga­tions that we were con­fronted with on Mon­day, we had no feel for.” Coe, a two-time Olympic 1500 me­tres gold medal­list for Bri­tain, in­sisted that the IAAF’s anti-dop­ing strat­egy was not com­pletely flawed. “Our sport was the pi­o­neer­ing part­ner in the blood pass­port,” he said. “It was in­tro­duced in 2009 and the very first sanc­tion was in place in 2011. “Since then, through the use of the blood pass­port there have been 85 sanc­tions in the whole of sport and 69 of them have come from ath­let­ics. That’s more than any other sport and more than ev­ery other sport put to­gether and in­ter­est­ingly more than through any na­tional anti-dop­ing agency. So no, we’re not com­pla­cent.

Game-changer

“The best way to cover up an an­tidop­ing case is not to test the ath­letes.” But ac­cord­ing to a re­port due to be pub­lished to­day, the scale of dop­ing cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing within ath­let­ics dwarfs the financial scan­dals en­gulf­ing FIFA, world foot­ball’s scan­dal-tainted gov­ern­ing body. An in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion set up by WADA is due to pub­lish its find­ings in Geneva on Mon­day, with re­port co-author Richard McLaren telling BBC it would be a “real game-changer for sport”.

“You po­ten­tially have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of ex­tra money in their pock­ets-through ex­tor­tion and bribes - but also caused sig­nif­i­cant changes to ac­tual re­sults and fi­nal stand­ings of in­ter­na­tional ath­let­ics com­pe­ti­tions.” The re­port is ex­pected to be crit­i­cal of both the IAAF and Rus­sian ath­let­ics of­fi­cials.

Coe, who has not seen the re­port, told AFP he had no in­ter­est in com­par­ing the IAAF’s woes to those of FIFA. “I’m not bench­mark­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion we’re in with any other sport or any other or­gan­i­sa­tion,” the former Bri­tish con­ser­va­tive politi­cian said. “My re­spon­si­bil­ity is very clear and it’s a re­spon­si­bil­ity that I have on be­half of the sport and that is to re­build trust-and that in it­self is go­ing to be a long road and we shouldn’t kid our­selves-and it is to cre­ate an or­gan­i­sa­tion that is ac­count­able, re­spon­si­ble and re­spon­sive. “This is not go­ing to be an easy road and the jour­ney is not go­ing to be short, but I’m de­ter­mined that we will get there, we have to.” Coe beat off pole vault leg­end Sergey Bubka to take over from Di­ack on the back of a strong an­tidop­ing stance, in­clud­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­de­pen­dent anti-dop­ing agency.

“It will go ahead and sit within an in­ter­nal in­tegrity unity, not just look­ing at and deal­ing with anti-dop­ing is­sues but other is­sues of in­tegrity,” Coe said. “But the main thing that will come from that are the hear­ings. We will set up an in­de­pen­dent tri­bunal so that the hear­ings will not be within the con­trol of mem­ber fed­er­a­tions. “I will be tak­ing to the IAAF Coun­cil meet­ing in Monaco in Novem­ber a raft of re­forms and changes and I ex­pect to get them through. “That work started the day af­ter I got elected. It has been ac­cel­er­ated since the al­le­ga­tions that emerged on Mon­day.” —AFP

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