Jan 07, 2016

    IAAF head sets out road map to clean up athletics


    INTERNATIONAL Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe on Tuesday set out his road map to "restore trust" in scandal-mired athletics, expressing his desire to transform track and field into a clean sport attractive to a younger population.

    Athletics has been shaken to its core since he took over from Lamine Diack after the Beijing world championships in August.

    Russia was provisionally suspended from track and field over accusations of state-sponsored doping, as the IAAF scrambled to salvage the sport's credibility nine months out from the Rio Olympics.

    Diack remains under French police investigation for corruption linked to doping cover-ups.

    Coe said his road map "recognises problems in two distinct areas, in the governing body and in the sport itself".

    "To rebuild confidence, the IAAF must become an accountable, responsible and responsive organisation, while the sport must adopt a values-based culture where future athletes learn from clean athletes, coaches and officials."

    Coe commented: "Be under no illusion about how seriously I take these issues. I am president of an international federation which is under serious investigations and I represent a sport under intense scrutiny.

    "My vision is to have a sport that attracts more young people. The average age of those watching track and field is 55 years old. This is not sustainable.

    "Athletics must be a sport that athletes, fans, sponsors, media and parents alike know is safe to compete in on a level playing field, and one in which clean effort is rewarded and celebrated."

    Steps to be taken, the Briton said, include establishing lines of responsibility within the IAAF and a forensic review of operations and finance.

    There will be greater accountability and vetting of IAAF officials and more transparency and communication from the independent IAAF Ethics Board (formerly Commission).

    Turning to competition, the road map envisages the establishment before Rio of a "separate integrity unit for athletics that ensures greater independence in reviewing key issues impacting upon the integrity of competition such as doping, corruption, betting and age manipulation".

    The anti-doping budget will be doubled to US$8 million (S$11 million), as soon as the integrity unit is up and running.