Coe vows to restore trust in athletics


IAAF president Sebastian Coe has vowed to fix athletics after doping scandals and claims of corruption which have rocked the governing body.

An independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency produced a report that has seen Russia suspended by the IAAF, while former president Lamine Diack is facing corruption allegations.

Coe was appointed as Diack's replacement in August but has had a baptism of fire as the scandals have emerged.

Speaking to a Department of Culture, Media and Sport Committee over his handling of the situation, Coe acknowledged there were things he could have done better, but vowed to make changes and improve the sport going forward.

"Everything I have done since becoming president is bringing in more internal and external scrutiny," he said. "I have the experience to do that and I have the support of the sport. Have there been failures? Yes. Will I fix them? Yes.

"If I don't do that I know there will be no tomorrows in our sport. I want a responsible and accountable sport. I want a sport people can trust.

"I'll do whatever it takes to make sure we've got schemes in place. It is a non-negotiable concept that athletes must compete with integrity."

Coe is particularly keen to restore trust between the sport and its spectators, and hopes the changes he makes within the IAAF can begin that process.

He added: "It is about trust between the audience, sponsors, coaches and athletes, if there is a sport that shows that any ambivalence towards doping, parents will find other sports. 

"It is the cornerstone of all my beliefs.

"The IAAF has a duty of care to clean athletes to create structures and a landscape to weed out the cheats.

"If there are failures in the anti-doping protocols, the biggest losers are the clean athletes. They may well be having medals taken off them. 

"But I have a concern about criminalising the athletes, because I have a concern about putting a civil system alongside a criminal system. I think it's best for it to be a sporting sanction."