In Depth

London 2012 'corrupted on unprecedented scale' by doping

Second part of McLaren report provides 'incontrovertible' proof of Russia's state-sponsored conspiracy


22 December

A day after Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini were banned by football's governing body, Fifa, it's counterpart in athletics, the IAAF, is back in the spotlight over its response to failed drugs tests.

An email leaked to the BBC and also published in French newspaper Le Monde shows that the organisation's deputy general secretary Nick Davies (above) was concerned about releasing the names of Russian athletes who had failed drugs tests in the run up to the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow and even proposed a strategy to deal with "Russian skeletons in the cupboard".

The email was sent to marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack, the son of disgraced former IAAF president Lamine Diack, who is under investigation for corruption. It includes suggestions of ways to handle the problems, including using Lord Coe's sports marketing company CSM and benefiting from his "political influence".

Davies writes: "If the guilty [Russian athletes] are not competing, then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them.

"Or, we announce one or two BUT AT THE SAME TIME as athletes from other countries. Also, we can prepare a special dossier on IAAF testing which will show that one of the reasons why these Russian athletes come up positive is that they get tested a lot!!!"

Last month Russia was banned from international athletics competition after an independent investigation exposed systemic, state-sponsored cheating.

The content of the message "appears to show that Davies... knew about the governing body covering up Russian doping and debated how best to reveal names of potential dopers without affecting the 2013 World Championships" alleges Ben Bloom of the Daily Telegraph.

Davies has insisted the email was simply a piece of "brainstorming" undertaken as part of his job, which was to "manage and promote the reputation of the IAAF".

"No plan was implemented following that email and there is no possibility any media strategy could ever interfere with the conduct of the anti-doping process," he said.

In the event the IAAF did not hire Coe's CSM company. "There is no suggestion that Coe did wrong, but the leaked email is the latest in a series of revelations that have undermined his position," says The Times. "This month, he stood down from his role as a Nike ambassador after mounting pressure."

IAAF crisis: Coe faces more  questions over Nike connection

26 November

The presidency of the IAAF has quickly become a poisoned chalice for Sebastian Coe. With Russia now banned from international competition over state-sponsored doping, his predecessor under investigation for corruption and an even more explosive report into goings on at the IAAF expected in January, Coe now finds himself under increasing pressure over the award of the 2021 World Championships to the US city of Eugene – and his own close ties with sportswear manufacturer Nike.

The decision to award Eugene the event was unexpectedly announced by the IAAF in April, before a formal bidding process got underway and after lobbying from Track Town USA, the organisation backing Eugene, which is closely associated with Nike.

Coe is also on Nike's payroll, and it has now emerged that he sent emails to the organisers of the Eugene bid, promising to "reach out" to then IAAF president Lamine Diack.

Coe insists that the decision to hand the games to the town without a vote was not his. And it is now claimed that Coe "admitted that it was incorrect to give the event to Eugene without a formal bidding process", in a conversation with a rival for the event.

The Times reports that Coe this week spoke to the organiser of the Gothenburg bid for the 2021 Championships, Bjorn Eriksson, who subsequently told the paper that Coe had "indicated that the Eugene award was part of an investigation by French police into corruption at the IAAF under the leadership of Lamine Diack".

Erikssen said: "I want to know was this bad ethics or was this bad ethics combined with something else?"

Despite the latest claims, Coe will "continue to resist calls to immediately sever his ties with Nike even though he faces further scrutiny over a potential conflict of interest", says The Guardian.

Coe says he wants to concentrate on reforms at the IAAF in the wake of recent scandals.

  • It was confirmed today that Russia has accepted it's ban from international competition in the wake of revelations about a state-sponsored doping programme.The IAAF will send a team of monitors to Russia after it meets to "determine the measures Russia needs to implement to be reinstated to world athletics," reports the BBC.

Putin calls for doping probe as  IAAF ponders Russia ban

12 November

In the wake of an incendiary report from the World Anti-Doping Agency that accused Russia of running a state-sponsored doping programme, President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation into the claims.

Speaking ahead of a vote by the IAAF, the governing body of athletics, which could see Russia banned from international competition less than a year before the Rio 2016 Olympics Putin called for individual rather than collective punishment.

"Sportsmen who don't dope – and never have – must not answer for those who break the rules," he said, reports the BBC.

Putin also announced an internal investigation into the Wada report findings and called on Russian officials offer "the most open and professional cooperation with international anti-doping authorities".

The Russian leader's comments, made after a late-night meeting with the heads of Russia's sports federations in Sochi, may have been motivated by the threat of international isolation. "Putin is up against Friday's deadline for the IAAF to decide on whether to suspend Russia – a first step toward exclusion from next year's Olympics," reports The Guardian.

And his approach was markedly different to that of sports minister Vitaly Mutko, who yesterday claimed that "Britain had an inferior anti-doping system" to Russia, reports The Times. He cited the case of six Russian athletes, identified by Wada as cheats, who competed at London 2012.

Wada says that data on the Russian athletes had been covered up in their homeland but Mutko pointed out that they were not caught by testers during the London Games. "If you're accusing our athletes today, then your system is zero and worse than ours,” he said.

Mutko, who is a member of the 2018 World Cup organising committee, also lashed out at Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, who had called for him to be removed from Fifa's executive committee. He described Dyke as "decorative" and said: "I've done a fair amount, this needs to be respected."


Popular articles

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Quiz of The Week
Boris Johnson chairs a session of the UN Security Council
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 26 Feb 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 26 Feb 2021