It is not just Russian athletics that faces the scaffold – in the wake of blanket condemnation announced today by the Independent Commission appointed by WADA — but the future of the IAAF itself. Failure by the governing body of track and Field, in conjunction with WADA, under the direction of new IAAF president Sebastian Coe, to implement the wideranging penalties demanded against Russia, could oblige the IOC to impose sanctions against the historic, and prime, Olympic sport. The IOC’s reputation is effectively indistinguishable from that of athletics. The IOC has already announced the immediate suspension of past IAAF president Lamine Diack, pending criminal charges by French authorities — through information from the Independent Commission relayed to Interpol. The rampant criminality exposed within IAAF strikes at the heart of the Olympic Games, of the credibility among sponsors whose billions fund the IOC. The exclusion of Russia from Rio’s Olympics next year, a volcanic step likely to enrage President Putin, is but a small price to pay in resurrecting global trust in the honesty of the Games.
Dick Pound, Canadian lawyer and founding chair of WADA who fronted the Independent Commission and presented yesterday’s pronouncements in Geneva, leaves world sport in no doubt. ” The present crisis in sport does not just stop with FIFA and IAAF ” he said. ” If the public view is that you cannot believe in results, this should cause all sports to face self-examination.” And he added : “A lot of people are going to have to walk the plank.” The charges laid bare by Pound are indeed appalling. They include: *
- Russia to be suspended *
- the director of Moscow’s testing lab destroyed 1,417 samples. *
- London2012 results were sabotaged *
- five Russian athletes should have lifetime bans *
- corruption amounted to State-supported doping (comparable to former GDR) *
- corruption was so prevalent that Sports Minister “was not possibly unaware” *
- the Moscow lab has to be disbanded and the director fired *
RUSADA (doping body) knew coaches were out of control. Pound was adamant that Russia could repair their disease in time to send a team to Rio. “If Russia does the surgery, they can still get there ” he said. “If not, then that’s the price (of neglect). They have the better part of a year, could do it , and I hope they can. ” In response to doubts expressed by media about Coe’s suitability to lead IAAF’s fight for survival – having accused media revelations of ‘starting a war’ against IAAF – Pound said he was confidant that Coe “is the right man” : that allowance had to be made for attitudes pre- and post- Commission statements. Pound stressed that the Commission’s findings had been accelerated for today’s release to be in time for next week’s meeting of WADA at Colorado Springs. He hoped that Russia would volunteer their own suspension prior to radical reform, if not “time will play itself out. If you want to participate, you accept the regime.” He emphasized that the Commission had not been dealing with verbal evidence but with documentary fact, that the corruption could not have happened without national federation consent . “It was worse than we thought.” The Commission had invited Mutko to meet them in Switzerland, warning that he would not like what they had to tell him, but hoped that ” Russia would seize the opportunity to attack the problem which can destroy sport.”
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Sport Intern.