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IAAF plans transparency amid new claims of corruption

Just as the IAAF is about to endorse wide-ranging changes to its governance aimed at making the organisation more ethical, transparent and accountable, world athletics’ governing body is being assailed by more claims of corruption.

Today, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council officials will receive an update from the Task Force looking at progress being made on anti-doping in Russia and whether there is any indication that the country could return to the athletics fold a year after being banned.

There will be a more upbeat feel about tomorrow’s proceedings as the athletes of the year are named in a gala event that was cancelled last year amid the chaotic fallout of a series of corruption allegations and revelations at the heart of the IAAF’s former leadership.

On Saturday, the ruling body’s president Sebastian Coe will present to the IAAF Congress his much-trumpeted “Time for Change” document, already approved by the Council, which will introduce a raft of measures to alter the way his organisation is run and policed.

In his foreword to the document, Coe wrote: “It is a framework that will help the next generation to protect, promote and provide for athletes and athletics in a responsible, responsive, accessible and transparent way. It is time to leap not to tip-toe.”

While Coe’s focus is determinedly on the future, the stories still swirling around the IAAF’s past refuse to go away.

French newspaper Le Monde and German broadcaster ARD said last week they have seen evidence of demands for payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars by Russian athletes to IAAF officials in exchange for covering up failed drug tests.

The documents were said to be from the ongoing investigation by French prosecutors into former IAAF president Lamine Diack, his son Papa Massata Diack and others over alleged corruption and money-laundering.

Reuters has not seen, nor is able to verify, the existence of those documents. France’s national financial prosecutor’s office declined to comment on Le Monde’s report, in order to protect the investigation, it said.

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