This has not been a particularly good year for international sports administrators but football and track and field have been the hardest hit. FIFA President Sepp Blatter has so far come out the worst, him being banned from the sport for eight years, but Lamine Diack is not far behind. However, the man who faces the possibility of the greatest of embarrassment is Sebastian Coe, the man who replaced Diack as the head of the IAAF this past August.
For years the world has questioned the integrity of Blatter but nobody has ever been able to prove anything against him. Even now with this claim that he inappropriately paid Michel Platini more than US$1 million, there was not enough evidence for a criminal charge hence the eight-year ban. Platini, too, has been banned for eight years. Both men are planning to appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Like Blatter, Diack has not been squeaky clean. Back in 2011, he was investigation by the International Olympic Committee’s Ethics Commission for allegedly taking bribes from a Swiss company when it had the exclusive marketing contract for the IAAF Championships.
So, that he is alleged to have collected money to cover up positive tests by Russian track and field athletes is not too surprising.
For Coe however, his image had been relatively clean which is why he easily won the IAAF presidency. He had campaigned on cleaning up the sport and making raft of changes that would attract more fans the sport that Usain Bolt has been carrying on his shoulders since 2008.
However, a recent email from Coe’s right hand man Nick Davies and Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, suggested that he was aware that there were several Russian cases in 2013 the year that country hosted the IAAF World Athletic Championships. That and the fact that in the email, Davies discusses the possibility of delaying the release of the names of the Russian athletes believed to have been doping.
While this does not directly link Coe to anything, the email does suggest that Coe, who promoted Davies after he became president may have also been aware of what was happening in Russia long before German television station ARD aired it’s revealing documentary last year. If investigations can find a link that puts Coe in the know, his could be the shortest presidency on record.
Coe has come under a lot of pressure since he assumed the presidency of the IAAF because with the revelations that have been made about doping in the sport since he took over, it is hard to conceive that he, as Diack’s vice president, would not have been aware of what was going on as it relates to the efforts to cover up positive doping tests by members of the very administration under which he served.
These allegations are very serious, because they potentially implicate every elite athlete who ever took a drug test whether it was in competition or out of competition. The very fact that every athlete who took a test could possibly offer an IAAF administrator large sums of cash to make it go away means that if Coe was aware that this was happening and failed to do anything about it, he would be considered to be as bad at those complicit with these illegal and immoral practices.
If that is the case then under no circumstances could be remain president.