A provisionally suspended coach still working with elite athletes and prior notice of doping tests among claims made in latest documentary by German journalist Hajo Seppelt

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has said its taskforce “will look carefully into the matters raised” following the broadcast of a third documentary from German broadcasters ARD/WDR.

Allegations in this latest documentary on Russian athletics – entitled ‘Russia’s Red Herrings’ – include that a provisionally suspended coach had continued to work with elite athletes and that prior notice of doping tests had been given by a member of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.

An independent commission, chaired by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) founding president Dick Pound, had been formed after the broadcast of another ARD documentary – ‘Top-secret doping: How Russia makes its winners’ – which aired in December 2014. Since then, the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) has been suspended as an IAAF Member, with a report by the independent commission having detailed findings including a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” in Russian athletics.

The broadcast of the latest ARD/WDR documentary comes less than a week before an IAAF taskforce is due to give an update at a meeting in Monte Carlo. The taskforce was created to verify the reforms programme in Russia to enable the ARAF to gain re-acceptance for IAAF membership.

But Sunday’s documentary, made by German journalist Hajo Seppelt, indicates that there is much to be done before the ban on Russian athletes from international competition is lifted.

As reported by The Sunday Times, a coach, who the WADA independent commission recommended should be given a life ban, was shown in the documentary as still working with elite athletes despite having been provisionally suspended. The newspaper also stated that undercover journalists working for ARD were able to buy banned performance-enhancing drugs from a man identified to German TV investigators as the successor to the former head of Russia’s medical commission.

“The IAAF thanks ARD and Mr Seppelt for giving the independent chair Rune Andersen of the IAAF Taskforce advance access to video and audio recording material which was broadcast in today’s ARD/WDR documentaries,” read an IAAF statement.

“The Taskforce will look carefully into the matters raised by the latest documentaries, including discussing them with representatives of RUSAF.”

The Russian athletics federation released a statement to say it will investigate the allegations made in the documentary.

“Russian Athletic Federation (RusAF) pays great attention towards all and every signal related to violations of the Anti – doping Rules and will hold a careful investigation of the alleged facts of violations in Russian athletics, shown in the new ARD documentary,” read the statement in part.

“RusAF conducts an uncompromising struggle against doping, enormous amount of work has been already done with the main goal to bring our athletes back to the international arena, we are transparent in all our activities, we are open for a strategic cooperation and partnership with IAAF and WADA and we will not allow certain individuals to cast suspicion on Russian athletics.”

An English version of the documentary can be viewed here.

» This post was updated on March 9 to include a link to the English version of the documentary ‘Russia’s Red Herrings’