Athletics woes continue!

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

As far as athletics and its governing body, the IAAF, are concerned, it never rains but it pours!

Apart from the doping scandals engulfing the sport, the new President, Lord Sebastian Coe, of the UK, is also allegedly tainted by controversy.

It all turns on two things: his position as Ambassador for NIKE, the giant sportswear company; and the award in April by the IAAF, without a bidding process, of the 2021 Athletics World Championships to the City of Eugene in the State of Oregon. This was done without taking into account the strong interest expressed by Gothenburg in Sweden in organising and holding the event.

Eugene is the birth place of NIKE and some 100 miles away from Beaverton, its present world headquarters, and it is alleged that Coe lobbied the previous President of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, who is facing corruption charges in France, for Eugene to be awarded the event.

Coe received around £100,000 per year for representing NIKE, but, it has just been announced, that he has severed his long-time relationship with NIKE.

Although Coe denies any wrongdoing, he has bowed to pressure from the organisers of the Gothenburg bid to host the event, and has agreed to look into the awarding by Diack of the event to Eugene, to ensure that the process was fair.

With one thing and another, sport, which is supposed to be all about fair play, is in such a mess, and all of this shows, I think, that self-regulation of sport is definitely not working!

 

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw is an International Sports Lawyer, Academic and Author, who may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’