Lord Coe, the new IAAF president has admitted to the BBC that athletics faces a “long road to redemption” after allegations of corruption by his predecessor, Lamine Diack, were made earlier this week.
“These are dark days for our sport,” Coe told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek programme. “The day after I got elected, I started a massive review. Understandably, in the light of the allegations that have been made, that review has been accelerated.
“I’m more determined than ever to rebuild the trust in our sport. However, this is a long road to redemption.”
Coe was vice-president for 8 years out of Diack’s 16 at the helm before the Senegalese stepped aside in August but states that he was unaware of the allegations until they “first surfaced at the start of the week”.
When speaking to the Sunday Times, the double Olympic 1500m champion said that “every doping case currently being investigated by WADA was first identified by the IAAF through its athlete biological passport (ABP) programme. Every athlete found in violation has been charged and sanctioned.
“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 in Sport (CAS) in fairness of clean athletes. The cases are currently pending before CAS.
“The best way to cover up an anti-doping case is not to test athletes at all. Through our ABP program the IAAF has tested more than 5000 athletes since 2009. We will continue to lead the fight against drugs in sport on behalf of all clean athletes. Those who cheat will be caught. Those who are caught will be thoroughly investigated. And the guilty will face the fullest sanctions available.”
When asked about the confidence – or lack of – in the current IAAF regime President Coe answered: “The current IAAF regime is a regime that catches cheaters and that is fully transparent. As indicated above, all positive findings arising from IAAF tests are systematically reported by WADA which subsequently checks the follow-up by the IAAF.
“The IAAF has never received any complaint by WADA as to the follow-up of IAAF cases. If a federation fails to take follow-up action upon receipt of a positive finding or an abnormal blood profile, WADA has the possibility to refer the matter to the Court of Arbitration, which it has never done as regards cases under the responsibility of the IAAF.”