IAAF plans transparency amid new corruption claims
Just as the IAAF is about to endorse wide-ranging changes to its governance aimed at making the organisation more ethical, transparent and accountable, world athletics' governing body is being assailed by more claims of corruption.
As the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe prepares to present to the IAAF Congress his "Time for Change" document, French newspaper Le Monde and German broadcaster ARD said last week they have seen evidence of demands for payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars by Russian athletes to IAAF officials in exchange for covering up failed drug tests.
The documents were said to be from the ongoing investigation by French prosecutors into former IAAF president Lamine Diack, his son Papa Massata Diack and others over alleged corruption and money-laundering.
Reuters, reporting on the newspapers' claims, said it has not seen, nor is able to verify, the existence of those documents. France's national financial prosecutor's office declined to comment on Le Monde's report, in order to protect the investigation, it said.
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) former president Lamine Diack was banned from the sport for life for corruption.AFP
The IAAF said it was committed to rooting out any instances of wrongdoing in the past.
"We cannot comment on the specifics of the [Le Monde] article whilst the criminal investigation is underway," the governing body said in a statement.
"It is clear we all need to get to the bottom of what has happened which is what the French criminal investigation is doing and we continue to assist them as required.
"We are taking bold steps to safeguard the sport in the future with the reforms we are introducing including setting up the Integrity Unit and Disciplinary Tribunal."
The latest accusations came after three senior IAAF officials were suspended in June over payoff allegations.
Last year's independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation, which exposed state-sponsored Russian doping, also said "corruption was embedded" at the IAAF under Diack who, it said, ran a clique that covered up organised doping and blackmailed athletes while senior officials looked the other way.
(Additonal reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)