Athletics braced for damning revelations from anti-doping agency

Sun Nov 8, 2015 6:45pm EST
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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - A report by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday is set to deepen an athletics scandal that, according to one of the document's authors, eclipses even the alleged corruption at soccer's governing body FIFA.

According to leaks to a French investigative news organization, Mediapart, the WADA report will say that athletics officials tried to extort money from leading athletes, including a Turkish Olympic champion, in return for concealing the fact that they had failed drugs tests.

One of the co-authors of the report, Richard McLaren, a Canadian law professor and sports lawyer, told the Sunday Times: "This is a whole different scale of corruption than the FIFA scandal. This report is going to be a real game-changer.

"Here you potentially have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of extra money in their pockets -- through extortion and bribes -- but also caused significant changes to actual results and final standings of international athletics competitions."

FIFA has been thrown into turmoil by the U.S. indictments of 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives for alleged corruption, and its president Sepp Blatter is suspended and facing criminal investigation in Switzerland.

The former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack of Senegal, was last week placed under formal judicial investigation in France on suspicion of corruption, along with two other former IAAF officials.

His successor, Briton Sebastian Coe, told Reuters on Sunday: "My job is very simple now and there is no ambiguity about it. It is to rebuild trust in our sport."

He said it would be "a long road to redemption".   Continued...

A view shows a plaque at the IAAF (The International Association of Athletics Federations) headquarters in Monaco November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard