Coe set to reject request to face more questions

IAAF president Sebastian Coe insists he first knew about the Russian corruption scandal in December 2014, when he watched a documentary.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe insists he first knew about the Russian corruption scandal in December 2014, when he watched a documentary.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The British parliament wants answers to further questions concerning when Sebastian Coe first heard about corruption within the International Association of Athletics Federations and the extent of Russia's doping problems. But he will defy summons because he believes he has no fresh information to give MPs.

Mr Damian Collins, the chair of the culture, media and sport select committee, has called on the IAAF president to return to parliament. He said he was "concerned" after hearing testimony from Dave Bedford, which appeared to contradict when Coe claimed he first heard about the marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova being extorted €450,000 (S$680,340) by IAAF and Russian officials.

When Coe first appeared before the MPs in December 2015, he told them he "was certainly not aware of the specific allegations that have been made around the corruption of anti-doping processes in Russia" until he had watched a documentary on the German TV channel ARD in December 2014.

But Bedford, the former race director of the London marathon, told MPs he had made several attempts to tell Coe about the Shobukhova case in August 2014 - including a phone call, an e-mail with an attachment detailing what had gone on, and text messages.

He added that when he spoke to Coe on Nov 21 at a British Athletics Writers' Association lunch, he "had no inkling from that conversation that he (Coe) was not aware of the subject matter in general terms".

Coe maintains that, while he received an e-mail from Bedford that month, he had never opened the attachment.

Instead he said he immediately referred it to the IAAF's independent ethics committee.

Last year, the ethics committee banned several of those named in the document, including Papa Massata Diack, a former IAAF marketing executive and the son of the former president Lamine Diack.

In a statement, the IAAF said Bedford's testimony had "offered nothing new" and that "Coe has no further information he can provide to the inquiry".

Collins disagreed, calling on the IAAF to release the full e-mail exchange between Coe and Bedford and warning Coe he needed to explain what he knew and when.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2017, with the headline 'Coe set to reject request to face more questions'. Print Edition | Subscribe