IAAF president Lord Coe is under increasing pressure after a new report claimed “corruption was embedded” within his organisation.
A report by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel said International Association of Athletics Federations leaders must have been aware of the full extent of doping in Russia but did nothing to stop it.
“It is increasingly clear that far more IAAF staff knew about the problems than has currently been acknowledged,” said the report – written by Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) – presented at a news conference in Munich.
“It is not credible that elected officials were unaware of the situation affecting athletics in Russia. If, therefore, the circle of knowledge was so extensive why was nothing done? Quite obviously there was no appetite on the part of the IAAF to challenge Russia,” he said.
In his report he added: “The corruption was embedded in the organisation. It cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting on its own.”
The report laid considerable blame at the feet of the IAAF Council, the overseeing body that includes Lord Coe, the former track star Sebastian Coe. He was in the audience as Mr Pound presented his findings. Earlier he had insisted there had been no cover-up and that he had no intention of standing down.
The report said council members “could not have been unaware of the level of nepotism that operated within the IAAF,” and also “could not have been unaware of the extent of doping.” It found that former IAAF president Lamine Diack “was responsible for organising and enabling the conspiracy and corruption” that took place at IAAF.
Mr Pound’s first report, issued in November, detailed a state-sponsored doping programme in Russia involving corruption and cover-ups. That led the IAAF to suspend Russia’s track and field federation, leaving its athletes in danger of missing this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Despite his report’s findings Mr Pound said there is no one better than Lord Coe to lead track’s governing body. He said: “There’s enormous amount of reputational recovery that has to occur here and I can’t think of anyone better than Lord Coe to lead that. All our fingers are crossed in that respect.”
When asked if the IAAF remained in denial, he said: “Of course there was cover-up and delay and all sorts of things. Acknowledge this. If you can’t acknowledge it you are never going to get past it.”