PARIS: The scandal gripping athletics promises to worsen with publication on Thursday (Friday in Manila) of a second explosive report targeting corrupt “scumbags” and a leaked blood database that could have worldwide ramifications for track and field.
The second report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission, understood to include shocking revelations of endemic corruption within IAAF and leading athletics federations other than Russia, such as track powerhouses Kenya, will likely make or break the nascent reign of newly-installed president Sebastian Coe.
“When we release this information to the world, there will be a wow factor,” warned the report’s outspoken co-author and former WADA president Dick Pound in November.
“People will say: ‘How on earth could this happen?’ It’s a complete betrayal of what the people in charge of the sport should be doing.”
The crosshairs of the first report fixed firmly on Russia. Accusations of systematic state-sponsored doping and corruption were enough to see the athletics giant banned indefinitely by the IAAF until it gets its house in order.
In the wake of that, former IAAF president Lamine Diack was put under investigation for allegedly having received one million euros ($1.1 million) as part of a ring blackmailing athletes who had failed doping tests.
Pound was quick to criticize Coe and Sergey Bubka, the Ukrainian pole vault legend whom the British two-time Olympic 1500m gold medallist beat to succeed Diack in August, saying: “They had an opportunity a long time ago to address issues of governance, and you saw from the International Olympic Committee what happens if you don’t do that — you get your tits in the wringer.”
The second part of the investigation delves into the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and was held back after the launch of the French police investigation into Diack, his legal advisor Habib Cisse, the former IAAF anti-doping chief Gabriel Dolle and Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack, the latter two having both received bans from athletics following the IAAF ethics commission’s findings.
Tellingly, after Pound’s press conference in Munich on Thursday, French financial prosecutor Eliane Houlette will “give a summary on the progress of the investigation conducted since November by the French judicial authorities, about alleged bribery and corruption”.
More shocking than FIFA
Pound warned this week that evidence of corruption even more shocking than the scandal plaguing world football’s governing body FIFA could be produced.
“With very few exceptions, I have not seen international sports federation presidents so involved in corruption, as opposed to moving money around like the FIFA boys,” he told The Times newspaper.
“In a sense, this is worse. This gets down to affecting the outcome on the field of play. It’s about the integrity of competition… You get to see how some scumbags operated.”
Speaking to Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, Pound added: “The second report will consist of the possible criminal actions on the part of individuals, in response to the generalized claim that the IAAF did not follow up on positive test results.
“The expansion of our mandate was to look at the database of the IAAF to see whether there is any abnormal anti-doping test results and if so, when and how the IAAF followed it up — whether there are any discernable patterns of not following up suspicious results.
“There were more than 5,000 athletes in that database, including athletes from other countries such as Kenya. Our experts are going through the entire list right up to the end of 2015.”
Pound acknowledged that his commission’s initial mandate was very narrow, centred on “Russia only and athletics only”.
“But it is fairly clear that there is a problem in Kenya,” he added.
“My suspicion is that at some point there will be a similar investigation of Kenya.”