Coe won't face UK doping inquiry again as UK Athletics launches Clean Athletics
Athletics - 11 Jan 2017
Sebastian Coe, the president of the IAAF, athletics' world governing body, has rejected a request from a UK parliamentary committee to give further evidence to an inquiry into doping in sport, saying through the IAAF that there was “no further information” that he could give to the inquiry.
Coe’s credibility has been questioned by critics that claim that, as an IAAF vice-president during most of the period in which a state-supported doping system in Russian athletics was claimed to be operating, he knew, or should have known, about the extent of the problem.
Coe first faced hostile questioning from members of the UK parliament’s culture, media and sport select committee over the scandal in December 2015, albeit no conclusive evidence that he knew about the issue was produced.
However, Coe has now come under further pressure over the issue after David Bedford, Great Britain’s former long-distance runner and race director of the London Marathon, was questioned by the committee over an email he sent Coe in August 2014 detailing the alleged extortion of Liliya Shobukhova, the Russian marathon star. Shobukhova complained that she was made to pay €450,000 ($469,490) to conceal a positive drug test, only to then be sanctioned.
In January last year, Coe told Sky News that he was unaware of any specific allegations of doping by Russian athletes or internal IAAF discussions about how they should be handled during his seven years as a vice-president.
He said: “I wasn’t across any letters or internal communications that were emanating, but the overall principle has to be if there were abnormal readings were they followed up? They were. Were sanctions followed up? Yes, they were.”
Coe claimed not to have opened the email, instead passing it unopened to the IAAF’s ethics board. A spokeswoman for Coe told the Daily Mail newspaper: “The worst Seb can be accused of is lacking curiosity.”
Bedford said: “He is poor at responding to emails and I’ve heard that from other people. He rarely responds to emails. He responds to texts more than anything else.” However, Bedford added that, “without doubt,” Coe must have known what the email was about.
• UK Athletics, the national governing body for the sport, today launched its own ‘Clean Athletics’ brand, “with the aim of reinforcing UK Athletics’ commitment to athletes competing free from performance-enhancing drugs.”
Clean Athletics will replace the former anti-doping department at UK Athletics.
Among its commitments under the new brand, UK Athletics said that it will “seek to enforce a lifetime ban against representing Great Britain for any athlete guilty of a serious anti-doping violation.”
UK Athletics added: “Bans should be extended to a minimum of eight years for serious doping offences to ensure that cheating athletes miss two Olympic or Paralympic cycles. Lifetime bans should also be applied in appropriate cases.”
UK Athletics also called on the IAAF to “investigate the implications of drawing a line under all pre-existing sport records – for example, by adjusting event rules – and commencing a new set of records based on performances in the new Clean Athletics era.”
It also called on “all companies who engage in sports sponsorship not to support any athlete found guilty of a serious doping offence as a matter of principle in support of Clean Athletics. In addition we call for the IAAF to ring-fence a percentage of each of its commercial sponsorships to be used toward the funding and support of Clean Athletics.”
Ed Warner, the chairman of UK Athletics, said: “As we announced last year, the integrity of athletics was challenged as never before in 2015. However 2016 saw a seismic change in the way athletics responded to doping in sport.
“The stances taken by both the IAAF for athletics and the IPC on behalf of all Paralympic sports could be seen as a turning point, but there is still much to do. Watching federations such as Athletics Ethiopia announce its own lifetime bans is another step in the right direction.
“Overall, we are concerned that the pace of change remains too slow, in spite of the Russian situation and the spotlight it shed on WADA and its relationship with the IOC last summer. There remains too much denial in too many quarters, but we will continue to work to make progress in the areas we can.”