Host cities hit back over suggestions of corruption

Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:51pm EST
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By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - Cities hosting major athletics events that bring international prestige and recognition rejected on Friday suggestions by a commission investigating graft in the sport that bidding for every major world championship since 2009 may have been corrupt.

A long-awaited report by the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had also raised concerns about awarding of the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo. Its findings form part of a broader scandal rocking global athletics involving athletes' use of drugs, official graft and high-level coverups.

The report on the sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), called for police to investigate the award of world championship events. London (2017), Doha (2019) and Eugene in the United States (2021) are the next three hosts.

Report co-author Richard McLaren said on Thursday there was enough information to justify a serious investigation into bidding. "The process by which those decisions were made, who made them, why did they make them and why did other cities not get selected, needs to be investigated."

Similar doubts have been raised in world soccer, currently hit by its own corruption scandal, over the bidding for World Cup tournaments to be held in Moscow and Qatar.

The World Championships, while not the "money-spinner" that is the Olympic Games, are a chief focus for international athletes and a showcase for track and field.


World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) former president, Dick Pound, who heads the commission into corruption and doping in athletics, gestures at a news conference in Unterschleissheim near Munich, Germany, January 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Michael Dalder