Belfast Telegraph

Athletics braced for 'explosive' revelations with WADA report publication

By Matt Madjendie

Athletics is set to be rocked to its very foundations in Geneva today, when a raft of revelations of systemic doping, bribery and corruption at the heart of the sport are to be revealed.

The former World Anti-Doping Agency president, Dick Pound, will divulge the findings of Wada’s independent commission into claims of Russian doping first aired on German television in December 2014.

Those who have seen the 700-plus-page report from Pound and the other commission members, Richard McLaren and Günter Younger, with regard to Russia have described it as “explosive”.

A criminal investigation against Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, his son, his legal advisor Habib Cissé and Dr Gabriel Dollé, the IAAF’s former anti-doping chief, will not be part of the report; that is now a criminal matter, having originally been passed on by the commission to Interpol.

Amid athletics’ last doping scandal over suspicious blood passports, Diack’s successor Sebastian Coe described it as “a declaration of war”. The implication now is that what has gone before was a mere skirmish compared to what’s coming.

Coe and the IAAF are bracing themselves for damning evidence but, breaking his silence following Diack’s arrest by French prosecutors, Coe said he would not push to have Russia excluded from competing at a global level.

Such a stance was already seen in his recent visit to Russia a little over a week ago and his words yesterday backed that up.

“I never say ‘never’ but my instinct here is engagement rather than isolation is the answer if we want change,” he said.

“This is cultural. We need a generation of athletes and coaches to believe it is possible to reach the pinnacle of sport with integrity and as clean athletes. Engagement is much better for internal change but again, I’ve never said ‘never’.”

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