Coe won't identify financial backers

A third of the funding for Sebastian Coe's IAAF presidential bid came from public money provided by UK Sport. He was also backed by Chelsea where he is a paid ambassador.
A third of the funding for Sebastian Coe's IAAF presidential bid came from public money provided by UK Sport. He was also backed by Chelsea where he is a paid ambassador.PHOTO: REUTERS

Spokesman says confidentiality of donors - backing Coe to be IAAF chief - will be kept

LONDON • Sebastian Coe continues to resist calls to reveal details of the private funding behind his successful attempt to become the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after it was confirmed that Chelsea football club were among his financial supporters.

As the fallout continued from the leaked e-mail that forced Nick Davies, Coe's closest aide, to step aside, scrutiny has intensified on the funding of his campaign for presidency.

A spokesman for Coe confirmed reports that Chelsea were one of the "range of supporters" that had provided financial support to his bid. It was a decision taken by the club's board, rather than Roman Abramovich, the owner.

The spokesman said Coe had already publicly thanked Chelsea for their contribution to his campaign.

In his column on the Chelsea website in September, part of his role as a paid ambassador for the Premier League club, Coe wrote: "Last month, I became the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, and the club were hugely helpful in all sorts of ways, so I thank them for that."

RUNNING CONTRARY TO ACCEPTED PRACTICE

I thought qualifying and earning selection was how athletes got to big events. Actually it's who IAAF thinks will help media relations.

MARA YAMAUCHI, British marathoner

One third of the funding for his campaign - £63,000 (S$132,000) - came from public money provided by UK Sport.

The remaining capital was raised privately, from Coe's own funds and his supporters.

"The funds were given privately and will be honoured as such," his spokesman said.

Coe was elected president of the IAAF three months ago and his tenure has since been beset by headline-grabbing controversies.

After the All-Russia Athletics Federation was suspended from international competition for alleged systematic doping offences, criminal investigations are continuing in France into Lamine Diack, Coe's predecessor as president.

Diack is accused of taking bribes to cover up doping offences by Russian athletes.

This week, an e-mail was leaked in which Davies, the director of Coe's office, suggested delaying the naming of Russian athletes guilty of doping offences until after the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.

The e-mail stated that Coe had a "personal interest" in the event being judged a success as part of his bid for the presidency.

Davies, who has stepped aside from his position until the IAAF's ethics commission finishes investigating his conduct, has offered full cooperation and evidence.

Mara Yamauchi, the British marathon runner, tweeted on Wednesday: "I thought qualifying and earning selection was how athletes got to big events.

"Actually it's who IAAF thinks will help media relations."

An independent commission, launched by the World Anti-Doping Agency, revealed the extent of doping and cover-ups in Russian athletics last month.

It is due to present the second part of its report on Jan 14.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2015, with the headline 'Coe won't identify financial backers'. Print Edition | Subscribe