IAAF official denies bid to delay track and field doping revelations
PARIS (AP) -- A senior IAAF official has denied trying to delay public identification of alleged Russian drug cheats ahead of the 2013 World Track and Field Championships in Moscow.
French newspaper Le Monde said it had a copy of an email sent by Nick Davies, formerly director of communications at the IAAF and now deputy general secretary, in which he talked of “what Russian ‘skeleton’ we have still in the cupboard regarding doping.”
Le Monde published extracts late Monday from the email, which it said Davies sent on July 19, 2013, three weeks before the start of the World Championships. Le Monde said the email was sent to Papa Massata Diack, son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack and who was working as a media consultant to the track and field body.
“I need to be able to sit down with the Anti-doping department and understand exactly what Russian ‘skeleton’ we have still in the cupboard regarding doping,” Davies wrote, according to Le Monde. “I think that the time to have unveiled the various athletes was a long time ago and that now we need to be smart.
“These athletes, of course, should NOT be part of any Russian team for these World Championships ... If the guilty ones are not competing then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them. Or we announce one or two BUT AT THE SAME TIME as athletes from other countries.”
Papa Massata Diack was one of the IAAF officials alleged to have covered up doping offenses. His father is the focus of a police investigation amid allegations he took money to cover up positive drugs tests by Russian athletes.
Davies strongly denied any wrongdoing.
“As Director of IAAF Communications it was one of my responsibilities to manage and promote the reputation of the IAAF,” Davies said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.
“My email to the IAAF’s then marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack ... was brain storming around media handling strategies to deal with the serious challenges we were facing around the image of the event. No plan was implemented following that email, and there is no possibility any media strategy could ever interfere with the conduct of the anti-doping process.”
Russia was last month banned from international athletics after a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission found evidence of systemic doping and cover-ups.
Le Monde also said that Davies’ email suggested that CSM, the sport agency chaired by IAAF President Sebastian Coe since January 2013, could help the IAAF in an unofficial PR campaign.
Davies said he “did not discuss these ideas with CSM and there has never been any agreement between the IAAF and CSM for any PR campaigns.”