IAAF not protective of drug cheats, says Coe

Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:28pm EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - The IAAF ruling body of athletics is proactive in tackling doping and not protective of drug cheats, according to president Sebastian Coe.

The sport has been rocked by allegations of corruption and bribery, with fans and sponsors deserting track and field, but the Briton said the International Association of Athletics Federations was at the forefront of catching drug cheats.

"I think the IAAF has been far, far more proactive than it has been protective. If you don't go fishing you don't catch fish and there are many sports that have taken that attitude. The IAAF hasn't actually," Coe said in a BBC interview to be broadcast on Saturday.

Athletics, the showpiece of the Olympic Games, was stunned last year when Russia was suspended from the sport after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation showed a state-sponsored doping program.

An independent WADA commission also said "corruption was embedded" at the IAAF under former president Lamine Diack who ran a clique that covered up organized doping and blackmailed athletes while senior officials looked the other way.

Senegal's Diack is under formal investigation in France on suspicion of corruption and money-laundering linked to concealing positive drug tests.

"A few people infiltrated a system and caused us irreparable damage. There's no point in even pretending otherwise," Coe said in an excerpt of the interview released on the BBC's website.

KEY ADVANCES   Continued...

 
Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF, looks on during opening ceremonies for the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships in Portland, Oregon March 17, 2016.   REUTERS/Mike Blake