Athletics “let down” by the IAAF over doping scandal, says David Moorcroft

Published: Sunday 10th January 2016 by The News Editor

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David Moorcroft believes confidence in athletics is at an all-time low thanks to the corruption scandal that has hit Russia and the sport’s world governing body the IAAF.

Three leading figures within the sport were handed lifetime bans on Thursday for blackmail and covering up positive drugs tests.

Papa Massata Diack, the son of the former IAAF president Lamine Diack and a marketing consultant for the organisation, former Russian athletics federation (ARAF) president and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, and Alexei Melnikov, a senior ARAF coach, were all banned, plunging the sport into further chaos.

The second part of an independent report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and written by former WADA president Dick Pound, will be published on Thursday.

And Moorcroft, a former chief executive of UK Athletics, admits there is little faith left in the sport’s international governing body.

“The sport feels really let down by the IAAF at the moment,” Moorcroft told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme.

“We have got great hope that (president) Seb Coe can pull things round but you expect real strong leadership and integrity at the very highest level from the governing body and one of the people involved has been banned for life – Papa Diack, the son of Lamine Diack, who is under investigation by the French police.

“We have no idea how that will go, but if there has been collusion and money taken for overlooking doping in Russia at the highest levels, that is almost the worst thing you could ever do.

“Most people feel incredibly let down by the IAAF and its leadership and that is the biggest challenge the sport faces – to renew the integrity and our belief in the international governing body.”

UKA will publish its own blueprint for cleaning up the sport on Monday. Moorcroft hopes the organisation will call for global, unannounced, round-the-clock testing, as happens in the UK.

“I have no idea what they might suggest but I am glad they are taking the initiative,” said the former 5,000 metres runner.

“I hope that they continue to push for longer bans, more investment in testing, better testing around the world and more consistent testing.

“We pride ourselves in this country on the fact that our athletes can be tested any time of the day and very often, but that is not the case across the world and if there are nations that are not just turning a blind eye but also orchestrating the cheating, then that compounds the problem.”

Published: Sunday 10th January 2016 by The News Editor

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