Athletics

Pound slams Coe over IAAF corruption

Sebastian Coe (AFP)
Sebastian Coe (AFP)

London - Former World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) chairperson Dick Pound on Friday criticised IAAF president Sebastian Coe for not doing more to uncover corruption at the highest level of his sport.

Pound, who chaired the WADA independent commission that found evidence of "state-sponsored doping" in Russian athletics, said that Coe and Sergey Bubka should have taken action during their tenures as IAAF vice-presidents under Lamine Diack, who Coe succeeded last August.

Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack, was one of three senior IAAF figures banned for life by the organisation's ethics commission on Thursday for blackmailing athletes who had failed doping tests.

"Coe and Bubka were there. It's easy enough if you want to get a governance review," Pound said in an interview with British newspaper The Times.

"They had a (19th-century) constitution in a 21st-century organisation.

"They had an opportunity a long time ago to address issues of governance, and you saw from the International Olympic Committee what happens if you don't do that -- you get your tits in the wringer."

Former Russian athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichev and former Russian walking coach Alexei Melnikov have also been given life bans, while ex-IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle received a five-year suspension.

Papa Massata Diack, Balakhnichev and Melnikov were found to have blackmailed Russian runner Liliya Shobukhova, London marathon winner in 2010, into paying a bribe for a positive drugs test to be covered up.

Coe reacted to their suspensions by saying: "The life bans announced today (Thursday) could not send a stronger message that those who attempt to corrupt or subvert the sport of athletics will be brought to justice."

Papa Massata Diack, Lamine Diack and Balakhnichev are also under investigation by French police over allegations they took bribes to hush up doping offences.

Lamine Diack alone is alleged to have received $1.1 million. His son acted as a marketing consultant to the IAAF until forced to stand down over the scandals.

Pound's independent commission is due to publish a second report next week and he said that it would reveal evidence of corruption even more shocking than the scandal plaguing world football's governing body FIFA.

"With very few exceptions, I have not seen international sports federation presidents so involved in corruption, as opposed to moving money around like the FIFA boys," he said.

"In a sense, this is worse. This gets down to affecting the outcome on the field of play. It's about the integrity of competition."

He added: "You get to see how some scumbags operated."

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