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Lamine Diack’s alleged doping cover-up at IAAF ‘abhorrent’
The IAAF President, Sebastian Coe, has called alleged bribery within athletics “abhorrent” after claims that his predecessor, Lamine Diack, received over €1 million (A$1.5 million) to cover up doping violations.
In a statement sent to Reuters and Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, Lord Coe commented “that people in our sport have allegedly extorted money from athletes guilty of doping violations is abhorrent.”
Coe’s comments, his first response to the latest crisis to hit the sport, came after French authorities placed Diack under formal investigation on suspicion of corruption and money laundering. The 82-year-old Senegalese is alleged to have received bribes in 2011 to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes, the office of France’s financial prosecutor said.
One of Diack’s sons and three other sports officials, two of whom held positions at the IAAF, have also been charged with ethical violations by the governing body.
Coe added “that they were not able to cover up the doping results is testament to the system that the IAAF and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) have jointly put in place.”
He stronger action by the IAAF during his administration, continuing “where there are fragilities in the system that may have allowed extortion, no matter how unsuccessful, we will strengthen them.
“And the independent integrity unit which I will establish next month will include an independent tribunal to hear all integrity-related violations committed by international level athletes and their support personnel. We will take the hearing process out of the hands of individual member federations.“
Coe also struck back at critics who claimed the IAAF had not done enough to control doping, stating “every doping case currently being investigated by Wada was first identified by the IAAF through its athlete biological passport program.”
A WADA independent commission is scheduled to announce on Monday its findings following a lengthy investigation into allegations of doping in Russia. The report is expected to be critical of Russian sports officials and the IAAF.
Coe, who has been criticised for not speaking out earlier after the French investigation of Diack became public, said the governing body has sought tougher penalties than those brought by the Russian officials.
Coe stated “the IAAF believes the period of disqualification of results was too leniently applied by the Russian Federation and has been seeking an extension of these disqualifications through the Court of Arbitration for Sport in fairness of clean athletes. The cases are currently pending.”
Coe said the IAAF had tested more than 5,000 athletes since 2009, proof the organisation was serious about making the sport clean.
He concluded “the best way to cover up an anti-doping case is not to test athletes at all.
“We will continue to lead the fight against drugs in sport on behalf of all clean athletes.
“Those that cheat will be caught. Those that are caught will be thoroughly investigated and the guilty will face the fullest sanctions available.”
French police last week arrested Diack, IAAF legal adviser Habib Cissé and Gabriel Dollé, the former longstanding head of the IAAF’s anti-doping unit.
Prosecutors said they would have arrested Diack’s son and former IAAF marketing consultant, Papa Massata Diack, if he had been in France at the time.
Images: IAAF President Sebastine Coe (top) and former President Lamine Diack (below, courtesy of the IAAF).
6th November 2015 - FORMER IAAF PRESIDENT LAMINE DIACK INVESTIGATED IN CORRUPTION INQUIRY
7th February 2013 - DRUGS AND CRIME REPORT ROCKS AUSTRALIAN SPORT
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