Athletics

Lord Coe vows to clean up athletics as pressure mounts for Russia ban

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Lord Coe has insisted he will not fail in his task to clean up athletics as pressure mounts for Russia to be suspended from international competition over its doping scandal.

Coe, the president of the IAAF, will chair a council meeting on Friday where Russia's immediate future in the sport will be decided.

UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner wants Russia suspended and stripped of hosting the world junior championships in Kazan in July.

Coe said: "I won't fail, but I also accept that this is a huge journey. I have to do this without fear or favour, and I fully accept that I may not even be around when the full fruits of what I need to do are probably going to be recognised."

He said he launched a review the day after he won the IAAF presidency and he is speeding it up in the face of this week's report.

Coe, meanwhile, is to be grilled by MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee next month over the IAAF's handling of the doping scandal and his links with sportswear giant Nike.

The 59-year-old, who has taken some flak over the IAAF's role in the scandal, will also be quizzed about continuing as a Nike brand ambassador. It has been raised as an area for possible conflicts of interest.

Committee member Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, confirmed he would ask Coe, who is also chairman of the British Olympic Association, about his continuing Nike connections.

He told Press Association Sport: "I am going to ask him about that. If athletics is going to have a new clean image it can't be right for the president of the IAAF to be sponsored by Nike. Seb Coe should give up his role as a Nike ambassador.

"We are also going to ask about the process of how the IAAF has handled this doping scandal."

A spokesperson for the IAAF said: "Seb Coe and other colleagues from the IAAF have agreed to give evidence to the select committee under their remit of looking into anti-doping but a date is yet to be fixed."

Former Great Britain long-jumper Jade Johnson said on Monday that possible conflicts of interest with Nike meant Coe should quit as a brand ambassador.

Meanwhile, former IAAF president Lamine Diack has been provisionally suspended as an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee.

The 82-year-old is being investigated by French police under suspicion of taking bribes to cover up positive drugs tests. He has also resigned as head of the International Athletics Foundation, the body which invests money in athletics projects.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, in an interview with New Zealand television on Wednesday, backed Coe to clean up the sport of athletics.

"Now we have this enquiry about athletics, the international federation will draw its conclusion and will take the necessary measures," said Bach. "We're convinced that the president, Sebastian Coe, will do whatever is necessary.

"I think also Russia will co-operate to make progress and to be sure that Russian athletics are compliant with WADA. This is what it needs to be in order to participate in the Olympic Games."

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Commonwealth Games

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