Athletics officials investigate Doha’s championship bids

The legality of the bidding process for the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Championships has been referred to the sport’s world governing body’s ethics commission.

UK Athletics’ chairman, Ed Warner, made the revelation in front of a parliamentary committee hearing into blood doping yesterday. He also warned that, as a result of the fallout from the scandal, all athletes competing in a British vest from now on will have to sign a contract with UKA meaning they can never compete for their country again if found guilty of doping.

Warner had previously raised question marks about the bidding process by Doha for the 2017 championships. In an interview with the BBC last week, he said that a senior IAAF official had told him that brown envelopes had been handed out on the eve of the 2011 vote to decide the host of the biennial event, which London won over their Qatari rivals. Three years later, Doha was awarded the 2019 championships.

Now the IAAF’s ethics commission is to look into how the host city was chosen for both championships, with the Qataris believed to have approached the IAAF president, Lord Coe, to open a commission investigation into the process in the hope of clearing Doha’s name.

Warner told the hearing: “I’ve had a number of discussions with the IAAF and they have told me the 2017 and 2019 bids by Doha have now been referred to their ethics commission. My next conversation will be with the ethics commission to lay out all I heard.” 

Warner refused to name the senior IAAF official who made the allegations to him about the 2017 bidding, not answering when it was suggested by Conservative MP Damian Collins that it was Coe.

The UKA head admitted that, on reflection, he might have done more to follow up the allegations, but added: “I worked on the basis that as these were sufficiently senior people, then they were being referred. I would be hugely disappointed if the rumours were not acted on.”

Any British athlete named for the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon, in March will have to sign up to an anti-doping agreement or be excluded from the team.

Warner said: “Athletes will forfeit their right to represent Britain again if they are banned. If they’re clean, they’ll want to show they’re clean. If you want to be selected, one of the things you have to sign is the team membership agreement. We can’t wait around for other sports to act.”

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