Coe acknowledges cover-up within IAAF


IAAF president Sebastian Coe has accepted there "was a cover-up" within the organisation during the tenure of his predecessor Lamine Diack.

Coe, who succeeded Diack as president last year, denied talk of a cover-up on Wednesday as athletics braced itself for further revelations from an independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The commission concluded on Thursday that "the IAAF Council could not have been unaware of the extent of doping ... and the non-enforcement of applicable anti-doping rules", although chairman Dick Pound nevertheless backed Coe to lead reform, adding: "I'd say he didn't lie."

Speaking in Munich after Pound had presented the commission's findings, Coe lamented the "horror show" in athletics over recent years and expressed dismay at the alleged corruption under Diack, whose son Papa Massata Diack - a former IAAF marketing consultant - has firmly denied wrongdoing on behalf of himself and his father.

"The recommendations in Dick's report today, we will absorb," Coe told Sky News. "There's no monopoly of wisdom here. We're not in denial; we know that this has been a cover-up. I accept this was a cover-up.

"[There was a case of] too much influence being in the hands of too few people, that have had malign intent and caused us massive reputational damage.

"Our sport can never ever return to the horror show that we've witnessed in the last few years."

Coe, who thanked the independent commission for its work in a subsequent IAAF statement, told Omnisport: "The changes that I'm now making will give future councils, [and] my current council, the ability to challenge, to be accountable, to be responsible, to be responsive and to be able to really hold to account people within the sport and be held to account themselves.

"Going forward we need to make sure that we really understand, all the time, the complexity of the problem, the number of countries and the scale of the problem in those countries and be very tough. Where sanctions are necessary, we will sanction."

Coe's IAAF statement added: "The corruption that it [the commission's report] has revealed is totally abhorrent, and a gross betrayal of trust by those involved.

"Even though each of the impacted doping cases was eventually resolved with lengthy bans for the athletes involved, I recognise that the IAAF still has an enormous task ahead of it to restore public confidence.

"We cannot change the past, but I am determined that we will learn from it and will not repeat its mistakes."