IAAF president ‘will do what he can to help’ but is seeking further detail on the information MPs want him to provide
Lord Seb Coe insists he has not refused to answer further questions following a request from the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that he give further evidence to a ‘Combatting Doping in Sport’ inquiry.
MPs want the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to return to discuss what – and exactly when – he might have known about any corruption allegations.
Following that session, chairman Damian Collins MP made it clear that the Select Committee would be seeking to speak to Coe again. However an IAAF statement released on the same day said that the two-time Olympic gold medallist had “no further information he can provide to the inquiry”.
However, Coe has insisted he will do what he can to help further, but added in a letter to Collins that he would like further details on the information that the inquiry is seeking.
One of the purposes of the session with Bedford was to discuss an email sent from the former world 10,000m record-holder to Coe – then an IAAF vice-president – in August 2014 which included Bedford’s concerns over claims of the extortion of Russian marathoner Liliya Shobukhova.
Speaking with the Select Committee in December 2015, Coe – who was elected as president of the IAAF in August of that year – had appeared to indicate that he had been unaware of specific allegations and the scale of the corruption claims prior to the broadcast of an ARD documentary – ‘Top-secret doping: How Russia makes its winners’ – in December 2014.
Coe has said that he forwarded Bedford’s email, with unopened attachments, to Michael Beloff QC, the chair of the then recently-established IAAF Ethics Commission.
In his letter sent to Collins, which is dated January 16, Coe writes: “Thank you for your letter asking if I would return to the Select Committee to answer further questions.
“I would like to make it very clear that I have not said anywhere that I would not be prepared to answer further questions, nor have I said I am too busy. I have made myself and my team available to help wherever we can.
“What I would like to understand, and I believe I have a right to understand, is the nature of the further information that you are seeking.
“So far, I have read in your statement and in direct quotes from you through the media that in light of David Bedford’s evidence to the Select Committee last week, you consider there to be ‘a whole range of questions that remain unanswered.’
“I have now had the opportunity to review David Bedford’s evidence to the Select Committee and, having done so, I must say it is not clear to me at all what these unanswered questions are. If you can be more specific in identifying the questions and specific areas that you believe I can assist with, I will do what I can to help the Select Committee further.”
In his reply dated January 18, Collins writes that the Committee wishes to pursue what it believes to be a “discrepancy” between the evidence given by Coe and Bedford.
The full correspondence between Coe and Collins can be found here.
It has not been confirmed when any further evidence session with Coe might take place.