Sebastian Coe asked when he knew of alleged IAAF doping cover-up

• Shadow sports minister Clive Efford writes to Lord Coe over leaked email furore
• Letter asks IAAF president to clarify how doping information reached senior officials

The shadow sports minister, Clive Efford, has written to Sebastian Coe asking the IAAF president to clarify how senior figures in the organisation would have been able to allegedly extort money from Russian athletes in return for covering up positive drugs tests and when he first knew about the situation.

The Labour MP has also asked Lord Coe to explain in more depth the links between his marketing agency Chime Sports Media and the International Association of Athletics Federations and warned him that athletics’ governing body needs to ensure it upholds “the highest degree of to probity and transparency”.

Efford’s interjection comes days after Coe’s right-hand man Nick Davies stood down as deputy general secretary of the IAAF pending a review into his behaviour after he was accused of covering up Russian doping allegations.

Davies’ decision followed a leaked email that he wrote in July 2013 to Papa Massata Diack, a marketing executive at the IAAF, which also suggested he would “sit down to talk with the Anti-Doping Department and understand exactly who are the skeletons of Russians that are still in the cupboard, in relation to doping”.

As Efford’s letter to Coe points out, “Mr Davies’s email suggests that other people at the IAAF would have to have been aware if such a complex strategy was to be implemented relating to Russian athletes who had tested positive. Can you state when you were first made aware of this situation?”

According to Efford, Davies email also appears to contradicts Coe’s testimony to parliament at the start of December that the IAAF’s anti-doping unit was “hermetically sealed” from the rest of athletics’ governing body.

Efford points out to Coe: “You described the IAAF’s anti-doping as a ‘hermetically sealed unit’ within the organisation which you said was the way it should be. However this arrangement did not prevent several leading members of the executive from being investigated for allegations of demanding money in return for covering up positive blood tests.”

The shadow sport secretary also notes with interest that Gabriel Dolle – the former chief of the IAAF anti-doping and one of the officials under investigation for alleged fraud and covering up positive blood tests – is mentioned in Mr Davies’ email.

Efford also urges Coe to explain in greater detail the links between his sports marketing firm Chime Sports Media and the IAAF after Davies’ email to Papa Massata Diack suggested that they might use Coe’s political influence and CSM, as an “unofficial PR campaign” to “stop attacks planned by the British press towards Russia”.

Although Davies has said the strategy that was set out in his email to Diack was never implemented, Efford notes that “the fact that he thought it was appropriate to even suggest this is surprising given his experience in public relations and media management.

“For the IAAF to have a contract with a company that is associated with its Deputy President in any circumstances must be handled with the highest degree of probity and transparency,” he adds.


Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

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