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World Athletics boss puts his money where his mouth is

November 27, 2015 11:51 IST
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‘We must work hard to restore trust and to show the real values and potential of athletics’

Sebastian Coe

IMAGE: Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federation, speaks during a press conference. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

The global head of athletics, Sebastian Coe, has promised to do all he can to clean up the battered reputation of his sport and the organisation that runs it and has already made changes in the way the IAAF operates in Monaco.

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At Thursday's council meeting Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations since August, told his colleagues he had cancelled the annual contract which provided a permanent serviced apartment in the five-star Fairmont Hotel for the president's use.

The IAAF said he had also closed the president's office ‘Villa Miraflores’ and handed it back to the Principality of Monaco. All IAAF staff personnel based there have transferred to the organisation's HQ on Monaco's Quai Antoine.

Coe has said athletics has been ‘shamed’ by relentless doping cases and corruption allegations.

His predecessor as president, Lamine Diack, is being questioned by French police over claims he took payments of hundreds of thousands of pounds to ensure athletes who had failed drugs tests would be free to continue to compete.

Coe had already previously cancelled the IAAF's annual gala held to present the sportsman and woman of the year awards.

Those honours, won by American decathlete Ashton Eaton and Ethiopian 1,500 metres world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, were instead announced at Thursday's news conference following the IAAF council meeting.

"We must work hard to restore trust and to show the real values and potential of athletics," Coe said.

"We have a unique opportunity now to face the future with optimism. Let us make sure that we have the right people, in the right places and the right structure to take the sport to a better place."

Coe, whose IAAF role is unpaid, also announced on Thursday he would end his 38-year paid association with sportswear company Nike after widespread claims that it represented a conflict of interest, which he denied.

However, Coe accepted the issue had become a distraction.

"Perception and reality have become horribly mangled," he said. "My focus is on steadying the ship that has been rocking rather badly in recent years."

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