Exclusive: Coe gets backing from athletics community as he pledges to restore “trust and credibility”

 

International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe has vowed he will not be swayed by outside pressure when making a decision about whether or not to ban Russia following allegations of “state-sponsored” doping.

Suspending the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) was the key recommendation in the report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) yesterday.

Claims in the report of corruption and the cover-up of positive doping cases involving Russian athletes have already been dismissed as “groundless” by the Kremlin, who have claimed there is “no proof” for the allegations.

“There’s a lot of static around on a lot of things at the moment,” Coe told insidethegames today. “I can’t spend my time second guessing or judging what people are saying. I can only put the processes in place. I have asked the Russian Athletics Federation to respond to the allegations. I’m not interested in the politics.”

The ARAF have been given until tomorrow to respond to the allegations.

If they fail to do so the IAAF’s ruling Council still plan to decide what action to take during an emergency meeting due to be held this weekend.

Coe has claimed he is focused on finding a solution to the crisis, dismissing criticism he should have been aware that his predecessor Lamine Diack and senior officials at the world governing body were involved in corruption and covering up drugs tests.

“The scale of allegations was off the graph,” Coe said. “The scale of the allegations being made against the IAAF is beyond serious. If those allegations are upheld it’s abhorrent. I can only focus on what I have now within my gift and that is I have to sort it out. There’s no ambiguity about that. I don’t have the luxury of hindsight, although looking back at what went wrong is a very important part of this process. It’s clear I have to return the sport to a level of trust and credibility we haven’t had for far too long.”

The first time Coe and the IAAF saw the WADA report was when it was published yesterday afternoon.

He admitted he was astonished by the scale and breadth of the allegations.

Coe has not spoken to Diack since he was arrested by French police last week and has not attempted to contact him.

“It was worse than I thought because of the nature and extent of it,” he told insidethegames. “It was truly shocking.”

Coe has claimed he is unconcerned by the level of personal criticism he has received.

He admitted, though, he is reconsidering the other positions he holds outside the IAAF, including his role as chairman of the British Olympic Association and his position as a global adviser with Nike.

“It is inevitable that will come with the territory,” said Coe. “Now I only have one focus, fixing this without allowing my anger to come through. Everything is now being reviewed and that includes me.”

 

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