Lord Coe to be quizzed over doping and Nike links

Lord Coe will be asked about links to sports giant Nike as well as the handling of the athletics' doping scandal. Picture: Getty
Lord Coe will be asked about links to sports giant Nike as well as the handling of the athletics' doping scandal. Picture: Getty
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Lord Coe will appear before MPs on 2 December to answer questions on the handling of athletics’ doping scandal and his links with sportswear firm Nike.

The peer, president of world body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), is to give evidence to the culture, media and sport select committee on that date.

Committee member Damian Collins has previously said he will ask Lord Coe about his Nike ambassadorship and believes he should sever links with the company due to possible conflicts of interest.

He will also be quizzed about the IAAF’s response to doping allegations, including the former Olympic 1500 metres champion’s remark in August that investigations into suspicious blood results amounted to “a declaration of war on our sport”.

He has since insisted he was only referring to stories which had tainted the reputation of clean athletes.

Meanwhile, IAAF leaders were set to suspend the Russian federation last night, keeping the country’s track and field athletes out of international competition for an indefinite period that could include next year’s Olympics in Brazil. IAAF president Lord Coe convened an emergency meeting of his 27-member council via teleconference to vote on a provisional suspension of Russia following the damning allegations of systematic, state-sponsored doping contained in a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission.

Under heavy pressure to take tough action, Lord Coe was expected to secure approval from the council for the maximum sanction, despite efforts by Russian officials to avoid a blanket ban by agreeing to co-operate and make reforms in their anti-doping system. An IAAF statement listed the main agenda item: “Decision to provisionally suspend the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) as an IAAF member.”

A suspension would take effect immediately, barring Russian athletes from all international track and field events until the country can prove it has put its house in order. It would be the first time the IAAF has banned a country over its doping record.

The Russian federation is likely to be given a month or so before appearing at a disciplinary hearing, where the IAAF could then elevate the sanction to a full suspension.

The IAAF and WADA would need to set out the terms for what the Russians need to do to get a suspension lifted, including complying fully with the global anti-doping code.

With the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro nine months away, the big question is whether Russia’s track team will be allowed to compete in the games.

Some Olympic officials have said Russia should have enough time to take the necessary steps to make it to the Olympics, in August.