15 January 2016

Africa: Wada Says Corruption Is Embedded in IAAF

The International Association of Athletics Federations or the IAAF has come in for heavy criticism from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which said corruption was embedded in the world athletics body.

The extent of corruption in the world athletics body was exposed in a report released on Thursday in which WADA said that the IAAF must have known about corruption orchestrated by its former leader Lamine Diack.

Diack faces criminal charges in France over allegations that he took more than one million euros in bribes from Russian athletes and officials to cover up failed drug tests.

Richard Pound, the former WADA president who wrote the report, said that current IAAF chairman Sebastien Coe is the best person to lead reforms of the world body.

The report states that the world athletics body was not tough enough with several countries including Russia thus indicating that doping scandals were not limited to Russia.

Pound said there was a "complete breakdown of governance structures and lack of accountability" at the IAAF.

"It cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting on his own," he said of the corruption.

Pound said the governing council, which included Coe, had to be aware of the corruption.

The first part of Pound's report, released in November said there was a "state-sponsored" doping system in Russia, which has since been suspended by the IAAF.

The new report said Diack had told a lawyer he would need to make a deal with Russia's President Vladimir Putin to ensure nine Russian athletes accused of doping would not compete at the 2013 world championships in Moscow.

Several IAAF staff have said they sought to draw attention to the doping abuses to leaders but were ignored.

The WADA report touched on this aspect saying there was an evident lack of political appetite within the IAAF to confront Russia with the full extent of its known and suspected doping activities.

Pound warned that the IAAF scandal could be worse than the one in Fifa.

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