IAAF President Seb Coe has not ruled out the possibility of banning Russia from international competition for its latest doping problems involving former president Lamine Diack and allegations that anti-doping officials covered up positive tests by athletes, according to Steve Wilson of the Associated Pres.
“I'm never saying never, but my instinct is that these things are better changed through engagement not isolation,” Coe told the AP.
Coe is in his first few months as IAAF President after succeeding Diack's 16-year presidency.
Diack, 82, was arrested last Sunday and questioned over allegations that he accepted bribes for deferring sanctions against Russian athletes that have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. On Tuesday, Diack was released on bail and ordered not to leave France as the investigation continues. His son Papa Massata Diack is also accused of accepting bribes to assist a Russian athlete's positive tests to avoid any penalty.
Gabriel Dollé, the former head of anti-doping at the IAAF, Valentin Balakhnichev, the ex-president of the Russian Athletics Federation and Russian coach Alexey Melnikov also reportedly played a role in the corruption.
Last year, three-time Chicago Marathon winner and Olympic runner Liliya Shobukhova reportedly paid the Russian athletics federation $550,000 to cover up a positive doping case. Dolle left the IAAF after being questioned by the governing body's ethics committee. Shobukhova was banned by the IAAF for three years and two months with all results dating back to 2009 being anulled. After cooperating with investigators, Shobukhova's suspension was shortened and is now cleared to compete ahead of next summer's 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has scheduled a press conference for Monday in which it will reveal the findings of an independent investigation into allegations of widespread and systematic doping in Russia.
- Christopher Chavez