Corruption-hit IAAF adopts Sebastian Coe's reforms

Reform package bid to end “grotesque” corruption that has rocked track and field’s governing body

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 December, 2016, 8:54pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 December, 2016, 9:04pm

Athletics’ governing body unanimously adopted a reform package drawn up by president Sebastian Coe on Saturday in a bid to end “grotesque” corruption that has rocked track and field’s governing body.

In a Special Congress in Monaco, 182 member federations voted for the reforms, with 10 against and five invalid votes. Some 197 of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) 213 member federations were present.

“Let me thank you for the confidence that you have shown the Council today in the reform proposals that you have agreed to. This is a very important moment in the history of our sport,” said Coe.

Coe’s reforms, with a nod to disgraced predecessor Lamine Diack’s abuse of the presidency, include stripping himself of some powers, with the president and Iaaf Council not allowed to serve more than 12 years and with more checks put in place.

They also push for gender balance, handing athletes a greater voice and crucially establishing an independent integrity unit that would manage all anti-doping matters and be responsible for greater intelligence gathering.

Since Coe took office in August 2015, the Iaaf has been mired in the fall-out from the presidency Diack, at the centre of a corruption scandal in which several former senior Iaaf officials were found to have bribed Russian athletes to keep quiet over positive doping tests.

No immediate return for Russia to athletics events after Olympic Games ban

Coe admitted that the reforms had not been to everyone’s taste, all the while praising the “civilised discourse” and the “clarity and honesty of dialogue”.

“The fundamental principles, I believe, have broad support,” said the Briton, a two-time Olympic 1500m gold medallist.

“On gender balance, a number of areas told me they needed more time - you’ve got it.

“I want checks and balances in place... I don’t want to be in an office choosing carpets and signing off expenses.

“I would not ask for change if I didn’t think we needed it.”