‘Long road to redemption’ for athletics

Former chief Diack under investigation for allegedly receiving more than one million euros.

Diack stepped down as president earlier this year [Reuters]
Diack stepped down as president earlier this year [Reuters]

World athletics president Sebastian Coe has stepped up his review aimed at cleaning up the sport’s battered reputation after the latest allegations of bribery, extortion and doping cover-ups left athletics facing a long road to redemption.

Briton Coe, who was elected president of the sport’s IAAF governing body in August on a manifesto promising reform, said that he reacted with “shock, anger and sadness” when French authorities this week placed his long-serving predecessor Lamine Diack under formal investigation on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.

Senegalese Diack, 82, who Coe once described as the sport’s spiritual president, is alleged to have received more than one million euros ($1.1 million) in bribes in 2011 to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes.

His son Papa Massata Diack, along with three others, has also been charged with various alleged breaches of the IAAF’s Code of Ethics.

Diack’s family has dismissed what they described as excessive and insignificant accusations.

Coe told BBC Radio Five Live on Sunday: “I was in clear shock and a great deal of anger and a lot of sadness. These are dark days for our sport, but I’m more determined than ever to rebuild the trust in our sport.

“It’s not going to be a short journey and the day after I got elected I started a massive review, and understandably in light of the allegations that were made this week that review has been accelerated.

“I’m determined to rebuild and repair the sport with my council colleagues, but this is a long road to redemption.”

Despite being an IAAF vice-president for half of Diack’s 16-year reign, he said on Sunday that he had no inkling of any wrongdoing until the allegations surfaced this week.

Source : Reuters


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