Coe could have pushed for IAAF reform years ago: investigator

Fri Jan 8, 2016 7:54am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - The head of an investigation that found high-level corruption in international athletics has accused Sebastian Coe, leader of the sport's world governing body, of missing opportunities to push reform "a long time ago" when he was vice-president.

Dick Pound authored a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission report that exposed a state-sponsored culture of doping in Russia and shook the athletics world. The second part of the report, due next Thursday, is expected to focus on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that Coe heads.

Coe was not immediately available for comment on Pound's accusation, but a Dutch IAAF Council member said he had played a major part in exposing the problems faced by the sport.

Pound accused Coe, successor to Lamine Diack who is now under French police investigation on suspicion of corruption, and then-fellow vice-president Sergey Bubka of worsening the situation at IAAF by failing to take prompt action.

"Coe and Bubka were there (as vice-presidents to Diack)," Pound told the British Times newspaper. "It's easy enough if you want to get a governance review. They had a (19th-century) constitution in a 21st-century organization.

"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," he told the Times.

The International Olympic Committee was embroiled in a corruption scandal in the 1990s involving, among other things, influence-peddling and gifts by cities bidding for the Games.


Sebastian Coe, IAAF's President, attends the IAAF press conference in Monaco, November 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet