Athletics

Lord Coe, pictured, remains the best man to lead the IAAF, says Dick Pound.

Dick Pound: I can't think of anyone better than Lord Coe to take IAAF forward

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Lord Coe has received crucial backing as "the best person" to lead the IAAF out of its crisis despite another damning report on athletics' doping scandal.

Coe admitted that he leads a "failed organisation" and apologised for some "clumsy" responses to the crisis after a new report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s independent commission identified serious failures in the IAAF.

The commission said the IAAF Council - which included Coe - "could not have been unaware of the extent of doping in athletics". It stated Coe's right-hand man Nick Davies, who stepped aside from his position as IAAF chief of staff last month, was "well aware of Russian 'skeletons' in the cupboard".

Despite those findings, commission chairman Dick Pound said Coe remains the best man to reform the IAAF after years of corruption and nepotism under his Senegalese predecessor Lamine Diack, who orchestrated a conspiracy to secure bribes from athletes to cover up positive drugs tests and used his two sons to collect the money.

Pound told a news conference in Munich: "This is a fabulous opportunity for the IAAF to seize this opportunity and under strong leadership move forward from this, but there is an enormous amount of work to do.

"I can't think of anyone better than Lord Coe to lead that."

Coe was in Munich for the publication of the report, and responded saying: "The moment I became president [in August], the IAAF was being criticised for all sorts of things.

"If, on occasions, my language has been clumsy, I apologise. It's never meant to be.

"I know how serious this is. The overall issue about whether or not we are in an organisation that has failed, I tell you we have. I know that. We are a failed organisation.

"I'm sorry if my language has in any way demonstrated a sort of a lack of understanding about the depth of this."

He added the corruption and extortion revelations had been "absolutely abhorrent", saying: "We have to make sure our sport can never ever return to the horror show that we've witnessed in the last few years."

The commission laid bare the influence of Diack who created a cabal around him which took control of Russian doping cases, as well as at least one Turkish case, and then extorted money from athletes to cover up positive tests.

Pound's report was tough on the IAAF Council, saying it was too easy just to blame the failures on Diack, who along with his son Papa Massata Diack and other officials is under investigation by French police.

In terms of Davies, the report states he did not mention any knowledge of the delays in reporting doping violations when he was interviewed by the commission in June. A subsequent leaked email from him to Papa Massata Diack showed Davies discussing a plan to delay the announcement of positive tests by Russian athletes.

The IAAF's ethics commission is investigating Davies' case, but the commission's remarks make it unlikely he will be able to return to the organisation.

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Topics:
Commonwealth Games
Athletics

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