Monday 19 March 2018

Seb Coe set for MP grilling over doping scandal

IAAF president Sebastian Coe PRESS ASSOCIATION
IAAF president Sebastian Coe PRESS ASSOCIATION

Seb Coe can expect some challenging questions when the head of athletics' embattled world governing body appears before MPs investigating the sport's doping scandal on Wednesday.

Coe, the IAAF president, will return to his former place of work to give evidence to the culture, media and sport select committee investigating blood doping in athletics following allegations made in the Sunday Times in August.

Coe, who was MP for the Cornish constituency of Falmouth and Camborne from 1992 to 1997, will be quizzed about the world governing body's response to doping allegations.

The former Olympic 1500 metres champion is also likely to be asked about his remark, made in August, that investigations into suspicious blood results amounted to "a declaration of war" on the sport of athletics.

He has since insisted he was only referring to stories which had tainted the reputation of clean athletes.

Coe can also expect questions on his association with sportswear giant Nike.

He denied a conflict of interest - a charge levelled by committee member Damian Collins, among others - but last week ended his 38-year ambassadorial role with Nike.

Nike sponsors Russia's athletics team, the first country to be banned from international competition due to doping offences.

The sanction was imposed in the wake of damning revelations contained in a report from an independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which uncovered systematic doping in Russia.

American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who has been banned before returning to the sport, is another of those sponsored by Nike.

The company has close links to the US city of Eugene, which was awarded the 2021 World Championships without a vote, something which is also likely to be on the committee's agenda.

Paula Radcliffe in September went public to defend her name, claiming she had been effectively identified by the committee of MPs as having provided suspicious blood samples.

The marathon world record holder was last week declared innocent of any blood doping by the IAAF and WADA.

Press Association

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