Sebastian Coe, the President of the world governing body of athletics, was aware of corruption allegations in his sport four months before they became public.
In December 2015, Coe told a select committee that he was "not aware" of specific allegations of corruption around the Russian doping scandal. Coe had then remarked that he was certainly not aware of the specific allegations that had been made around the corruption of anti-doping processes in Russia. However, the email from Coe to ethics commission of the IAAF in August 2014 states that he had now been made aware of the allegations.
It was alleged by BBC's Panorama program and the Daily Mail last June that Coe, then an IAAF vice-president, had knowledge of the doping scandal before it was revealed by the German journalist Hajo Seppelt in December 2014.
The emails, published on Tuesday by the committee, revealed fresh light on the issue of what was known to the now-IAAF President about the Russian corruption and doping scandal.
UK MPs had wanted Coe to return to the committee after testimony off former athlete David Bedford to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee inquiry into doping in sport appeared to contradict the testimony of Coe. The IAAF President has so far refused to return to the committee, but agreed to two requests from MPs for releasing the missing correspondence between him and Michael Beloff, chair of the IAAF ethics commission.
Committee chairman Damian Collins remarked it is clear whatever excuse has been offered by Coe that he decided not to share with the committee information that was relevant to our inquiry on doping in sport. Collins added the committee asked him about his knowledge of doping in Russian athletics and of corruption within the sport and added Coe in his answers gave the impression that he was unaware of specific allegations. The Committee chairman went on to remark that we can see thanks to evidence that was presented by the BBC Panorama program last year, and by David Bedford to the committee this January that Coe was aware, at least in general terms, of the allegations that had been brought forward by the Russian athlete Liliya Shobukhova.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, shadow minister for sport, remarked these are very troubling allegations. The minister added the release of these emails by the select committee casts serious doubts over the evidence previously given by Coe to the inquiry. Dr Rosena added World Athletics is going through one of the most serious doping scandals in its history and requires the strongest possible leadership. The minister for sport added Coe must immediately come back to the select committee and clarify his evidence in light of this new information.
Dr Rosena also added that Sebastian Coe must be honest about which allegations he knew of and when he found out about them and added the IAAF and British Olympic Association need transparency and honesty throughout their organizations now more than ever, and that has to start at the very top.
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