Australian athletics chiefs today backed Sebastian Coe to clean up the sport, which it said had been massively compromised by doping scandals with the trust and confidence of all stakeholders “exploited”.
A second report compiled by an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said Thursday that the IAAF Council, which included Coe, “could not have been unaware of the extent of doping in athletics”.
Despite those findings, commission chairman Dick Pound said the double Olympic 1,500m champion remained the best man to reform the IAAF after years of alleged corruption and nepotism under his Senegalese predecessor Lamine Diack.
Athletics Australia chief Phil Jones agreed that the Briton should remain IAAF president to help restore the organisation’s reputation.
“We acknowledge that there is an enormous amount to do to restore the credibility of the sport of athletics,” he said.
“We share the confidence that... Dick Pound has placed in Sebastien Coe as the right person to lead the IAAF into a new era.”
World athletics has been rocked by a series of doping allegations with Diack under investigation by French prosecutors over claims that he took bribes to hush up positive tests by Russian athletes.
Coe was effusive in his praise of Diack when he beat Sergey Bubka in an election to succeed the disgraced Senegalese in August.
Jones said the absence of a robust, overarching IAAF governance structure and clear lines of accountability “has enabled practices that have compromised the integrity of the whole sport of athletics”.
“The trust and confidence of all athletics’ stakeholders, most notably athletes, administrators, federations and fans, has been exploited through the existence of what we now understand was an ‘informal illegitimate governance structure’ outside, but directly associated with the IAAF and its anti-doping unit,” he added.
“Athletics Australia considers the findings set out (in the WADA report) as the turning point for the IAAF’s leadership.
“We reiterate our unwavering stance against doping in sport and require that the IAAF, under the leadership of president Seb Coe, take all actions necessary to deliver a level playing field for all athletes worldwide. We want to see real action before Rio 2016.”