Lord Coe endured a difficult interview with Jon Snow on Monday, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations insisting he was the right man to lead the sport forward, despite failing to act on the corruption detailed in the damning report that concluded London's 2012 Olympics were sabotaged by allowing Russian athletes to compete when they should have been suspended for doping violations.
Although he accepted a “degree of collective blame,” Coe said the report’s author noted that rogue elements may have infiltrated the organisation, but this may not necessarily be a wholesale systemic failure of our systems.”
Snow said that comment “beggared belief,” besieging Coe with rising incredulity.
“You have been the deputy president of the IAAF since 2007, the man you sat next to is at the centre of these allegations… and you’re saying you didn’t have a clue these extraordinary activities were swirling around?”
The broadcaster continued: “You are one of the greatest sportsmen to ever run for Britain, and yet you became president of an organisation that turns out to be desperately corrupt at the very top… surely people would have thought he of all people would carry the baton and scour the place of this kind of stuff. “
“That is my responsibility now,” said Coe.
“Did you do it?" asked Snow.
“That is my responsibility now,” repeated the former middle distance runner.
“Either you were asleep on the job, or corrupt. Which is it?”
Interpol, the European crime agency, said on Monday it will conduct an international investigation into the allegations raised.
The report was commissioned after a German television documentary which alleged up to "99 percent" of the Russian Olympics team used doping and employed a sophisticated tactics to fool tests and regulators. The World Anti-Doping Agency's independent report concluded the Russia's athletics federation should be suspended and its track and field athletes banned from competing until the country cleans up its act.
Watch the full interview above…
WADA report key findings
- A lifetime ban was recommended for five athletes, four coaches and another administrator.
- Among those recommended were London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Mariya Savinova-Farnosova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova
- Report recommends that Russia's athletics federation should be suspended and its track and field athletes banned from competition (which would include the 2016 Olympics) until the country cleans up its act.
- Athletes said they feared for their personal safety if they did not subscribe to the "workings of the National Team”.
- The report found a culture of cheating that was deeply ingrained in all levels of Russian athletics. The mindset was “justified” on the theory that everyone else was cheating as well.
- The reported presence of the security services (FSB) within the laboratory setting in Sochi and at the Moscow laboratory, actively imposed an atmosphere of intimidation on laboratory process and staff, and supported allegations of state influence in sports events.
- Interpol is set to co-ordinate a global investigation into doping allegations.