Nov 09, 2015

    IAAF chief slams corruption scandal, vowing to do more


    WORLD athletics chief Sebastian Coe has labelled as "abhorrent" allegations of doping bribery within athletics after his predecessor was arrested by French police.

    "That people in our sport have allegedly extorted money from athletes guilty of doping violations is abhorrent," said International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Coe in a statement to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.

    Lamine Diack, Coe's immediate predecessor, was charged by French police with corruption over suspicions he took bribes worth more than one million euros (S$1.5 million) to cover up doping cases involving Russian athletes.

    The IAAF has also opened disciplinary proceedings against one of Diack's sons and three others, their own former treasurer and ex-doping chief.

    However, Coe in his first response to the latest crisis to hit track and field, added: "That they were not able to cover up the doping results is testament to the system that the IAAF and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) have jointly put in place."

    Coe said disciplinary procedures would be strengthened if current systems were found to be inadequate.

    "Where there are fragilities in the system that may have allowed extortion, no matter how unsuccessful, we will strengthen them," he said.

    "We will take the hearing process out of the hands of individual member federations."

    Coe, a two-time Olympic 1500m gold medallist for Britain, took over as head of the IAAF from Diack in August, vowing to clean up the tainted sport.

    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.

    An independent commission set up by WADA is due to publish its findings today. The report's co-author Richard McLaren told the BBC: "This is going to 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."