Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The criteria that the Russian athletics federation (ARAF) must meet to be readmitted by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will be announced tomorrow, said IAAF President Sebastian Coe in an interview with BBC Radio 4 today. Asked if he accepted that there was no chance that Russia would be able to redeem itself in time for the Rio 2016 Olympics, Coe said: “No. That would be to give up. Russia must demonstrate verifiable change across a range of criteria, and those criteria will be published tomorrow.” Coe added that there is no timeline for Russia to meet the criteria. “It is up to them”, he said.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) today said that a team of experts had travelled to Russia ‘for initial meetings to explore the ways and means of how an anti-doping program can be run during a period of non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code’, read a statement. ‘In particular, the testing program for athletes in Russia needs to be formulated and put into practice.’ UK Anti-Doping will be part of the team. “UKAD has been asked by WADA to be part of an evaluation visit to Russia to support WADA explore the ways and means of how an anti-doping program can be run during a period of non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code”, said a UKAD spokesperson.
Coe also admitted that Eugene’s bid to host the 2021 World Athletics Championships was put forward by US Track & Field (USTF), which is sponsored by Nike. Nike is a rival sportswear manufacturer to IAAF sponsor Adidas, yet Eugene – where Nike was founded – was awarded the 2021 Championships without a bidding process. Coe was sponsored by Nike for 38 years, and faces allegations that he put pressure on former IAAF President Lamine Diack to award the 2021 Worlds to Eugene. As reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative earlier today, France’s Financial Prosecutor is investigating the situation.
The logos of both Nike and USTF feature on the internet site of TrackTown (see picture below), as Eugene brands itself. When questioned by the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Select Committee of the UK Parliament on 3 December, Coe answered “no” to questions on whether Nike was part of the funding package put together by TrackTown, or if it was putting any money in.
The 2021 Worlds will mark the third IAAF championships to be held in Nike’s home State of Oregon in seven years. The IAAF World Junior Championships (Oregon14) was hosted in Eugene last summer and the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 will be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, 18-20 March 2016.
At the CMS Committee meeting, Coe promised to double the IAAF’s anti-doping budget of US$4 million. In the interview, he clarified what that would deliver. “There are 47 disciplines in our sport”, he told Radio 4. “We currently test the top ten in every one of those disciplines. We’ll now test the top 20.”