Belfast Telegraph

IAAF president Lord Coe must quit after cover-ups, insists Linford Christie

By Robert Jones

Linford Christie has criticised IAAF president Lord Coe and suggested there needs to be "a purge" at the world governing body.

Coe was given the backing of the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Dick Pound, last week after an independent commission report was published presenting their findings on corruption and doping cover-ups at the IAAF.

The report did also state though that the IAAF council - including Coe - "could not have been unaware" of the extent of doping in athletics.

Christie, who won gold for Great Britain in the 100 metres at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, said: "It's not for me to say (he should resign), it's for him to know. I think it's for him to make that decision.

"The sport needs to be clear, there needs to be total transparency and I think that's the only way.

"I said the IAAF was corrupt way back in 2000 and it's all coming to light now.

"The IAAF needs to open doors and go into safes and cupboards and start from scratch. When you lose trust you have got to start from the bottom so the public can see (you are saying) 'This is what we are doing. We are clearing up'.

"There is no other way. We need a purge."

The commission report found that Coe's predecessor as IAAF president, Lamine Diack, orchestrated a conspiracy to secure bribes from athletes to cover up positive drugs tests and used his two sons to collect the money.

French police and the IAAF are investigating the bidding processes involved in seven World championships since 2009, including the 2017 event which is to be hosted by London after it beat Qatar's capital Doha in the vote.

UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner has said how he had been told just prior to the 2017 vote that "brown envelopes" were being handed to members of the IAAF council.

Warner said: "It was quite shocking to hear it and my message to our bid team was, 'Just ignore that. We are London, we do it the British way. We have no brown envelopes - even if we did, we'd have nothing to stuff into them. Let's focus on our lobbying'.

"Frankly, it seemed incredible to me at the time and so I dismissed it. But subsequently, we have heard that Papa Diack, Lamine Diack's son, apparently was asking for $5m from Qatar to support their bid - they were our competitors for the 2017 championships."

Qatar has denied any wrongdoing in its bids for either the 2017 championships or the 2019 championships, which they are set to host.

When asked if he was aware of the claims, Coe said he was not, but promised to look into them.

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