PRESIDENT of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Sebastian Coe, is under fire after an email was released proving that his confidante and General Secretary of the IAAF, knew of numerous Russian doping cases in 2013.
The email, published by Le Monde on December 21, also shows that Coe’s right-hand man Nick Davies discussed a plan to delay naming the suspected athletes and even thwart British press attacks on Russia through a sophisticated PR campaign run by Coe’s very own firm Chime Media Sports.
Sent on July 19 2013, to Papa Diack (son of former IAAF president Lamine) three weeks before the start of the World Championships in Moscow, the email shows Davies admitting that “the time to have unveiled the various athletes was a long time ago and that now we need to be smart.”
He goes onto suggest a variety of ways to mitigate the anticipated furore by hinting the IAAF could “prepare a special dossier” on testing , or delay naming the Russian dopers and do so after the Championships and at the same time as other nationalities.
He concludes with “Papa as soon as I have an idea of the price of this unofficial PR campaign I will let you know”.
Mr Diack was arrested in November on corruption charges by French police and is also being charged with trying to extort €1.5 million from Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova to hide her doping.
The leak of the email will increase pressure on the IAAF which has had its credibility called into question over a variety of allegations of corruption and doping cover-ups.
Coe himself is not implicated thus far but will be highly embarrassed by the revelations, having personally promoted Davies immediately after taking over the presidency. The former Olympian will not have appreciated Davies signing off his email with “I will do everything in my power to protect the IAAF and the president”.