Sebastian Coe has been accused by an MP of losing the public’s trust and warned that it could prove terminal to his presidency of the IAAF.
Damian Collins, a member of the parliamentary select committee that questioned Coe at the end of last year about the scandal engulfing athletics, said: “People are losing trust in Lord Coe. To succeed in this role and in cleaning up athletics he needs to be clear and transparent, otherwise the public will lose faith and respect.”
On Thursday Coe was said to have admitted being aware of rumours that brown envelopes had changed hands in the lead-up to the bidding for the 2017 World Championships. And Collins added: “I don’t think it’s terminal just yet, but I think he’s playing a very dangerous game if he was aware of those rumours enough to raise them with UK Athletics.”
The issue was first raised in a BBC interview by the UK Athletics chairman, Ed Warner, who was pressed further on the matter by Collins in Westminster on Tuesday. Warner said he had been informed by a “very senior person in the IAAF hierarchy” of rumours of potential wrongdoing by rival bidders Doha, who have consistently denied that.ess to the incident at the Monaco Fairmont Hotel in November 2011 had previously told The Independent the official in question was Coe, a claim he has neither denied nor confirmed.
The IAAF previously said in a statement that Coe “had no actual knowledge of bribes being offered or received linked to the 2017 World Championships” but that there had been “rumour piled upon rumour”.
Collins called the denial “a little disingenuous”. He added: “He needs to apologise for the mistakes of the past and not pretend. I think he can ride it through without being so deliberately evasive.”