IAAF under fire, Sebastian Coe backed by Dick Pound

IAAF president Sebastian Coe faces a huge challenge to restore public trust in the organisation after his predecessor, Lamine Diack, was accused of “organising and enabling conspiracy and corruption” within athletics’ governing body on another dark day for the sport.

The second part of a report by an independent commission established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was published on Thursday, with one of the conclusions being that the highest levels of the IAAF Council must have known about the extent of doping.

Athletics’ reputation was severely tarnished last November when the first part of the report made allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia, which led to the IAAF suspending Russian athletes from competition.

IAAF president Coe initially denied claims Russian doping cases were covered up by the governing body, but the report offered a very different verdict and accused Diack – who is under formal investigation by French police as part of a corruption inquiry – of sanctioning fraudulent activities.

Independent commission chairman Dick Pound nevertheless exonerated Coe of any wrongdoing, expressing his belief the two-time Olympic gold medallist is the right man to rebuild the reputation of the crisis-hit IAAF.

Here we summarise Thursday’s main developments:


– The independent commission say corruption is “imbedded” in the IAAF and there is no way the governing body’s Council could not have known about doping in athletics.

– ┬áDiack, whose son Papa Massata Diack – a former IAAF marketing executive – has firmly denied any wrongdoing on behalf of himself or his father, is accused of “organising and enabling the conspiracy and corruption that took place in the IAAF”. The report adds that the former president “sanctioned and appears to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes carried out by the actions of the informal illegitimate governance structure he put in place”.

– Pound said he does not believe Coe “had the faintest” idea of the cover-ups that are alleged to have taken place and stated that he “can’t think of anyone better” to lead the IAAF’s “reputational recovery”.

– The report states that the IAAF has an inadequate governance process in place to prevent the corruption that occurred, an issue Coe has pledged to tackle.

– Coe has performed a U-turn and acknowledged that there was an IAAF cover-up, but maintains he was personally unaware of any corruption and has vowed there can be no repeat of such a “horror show”.

– According to transcripts cited in the report, Turkey lost Lamine Diack’s support in the battle to host the 2020 Olympics when they did not pay “sponsorship monies of $4 to $5million either to the Diamond League or IAAF”. It is suggested that Japan did pay the sum, with the 2020 Games duly being awarded to Tokyo.

– Former WADA president Pound said he is unable to give a timeframe for Russia’s ban from athletics to be lifted.

– WADA has welcomed the report’s conclusions, with president Craig Reedie stating: “It is hugely disturbing that individuals at the highest levels of the IAAF were abetting and covering up doping for their own financial gain. This flagrant disregard for the law and anti-doping rules undermines trust amongst clean athletes, and indeed the public, worldwide.”

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