Alleged extortion to hide dopers abhorrent: Coe

Sat Nov 7, 2015 5:49pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - IAAF president Sebastian Coe called alleged bribery within athletics "abhorrent" on Saturday after claims that predecessor Lamine Diack received over one million euros ($1.09 million) to cover up doping violations.

"That people in our sport have allegedly extorted money from athletes guilty of doping violations is abhorrent," said Coe in a statement sent to Reuters and Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.

It was the former double Olympic champion's first response to the latest crisis to hit the sport.

Coe, who was elected president in August, also denied again that the governing body of athletics had been complacent in its handling of doping cases, as alleged by the Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD.

Briton Coe's comments came after French authorities this week placed former IAAF president Diack under formal investigation on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.

The 82-year-old Senegalese is alleged to have received more than one million euros in bribes in 2011 to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes, the office of France's financial prosecutor said.

One of Diack's sons and three other sports officials, two who held IAAF positions, have also been charged with ethical violations by the governing body.

"That they were not able to cover up the doping results is testament to the system that the IAAF and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) have jointly put in place," said Coe.

He promised stronger action by the IAAF during his administration.   Continued...

President of International Association of Athletics Federations Sebastian Coe listens to a question at a news conference in Beijing, August 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Jason Lee