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Under-fire Athletics doubles anti-doping budget

Sport

The governing body of world athletics has promised to double the anti-doping budget as part of a 10-point road map to restore trust in the sport.

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The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has released a statement outlining five steps for “building trust in the governing body” and five more for “building trust in competition”.

The measures include increasing the anti-doping budget to $US8 million ($A11.2 million), doubling the international testing pool of athletes to 1000 and establishing a separate integrity unit for track and field.

The aim of the plan, according to the IAAF, is to make the governing body “an accountable, responsible and responsive organisation”.

The sport was plunged into crisis at the end of last year after an initial report by the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) detailed systematic, state-sponsored doping and related corruption in Russia.

The IAAF itself has also been beset by corruption allegations over the taking of bribes to cover up doping.

Retired president Lamine Diack, since succeeded by Sebastian Coe, was last month placed under formal investigation by French authorities on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.

Coe, who was under fire for taking too long to act on allegations of impropriety within the governing body, said he was under no illusions about the seriousness of the issues facing the organisation.

“I am president of an international federation which is under serious investigations and I represent a sport under intense scrutiny,” he said in the statement.

“My vision is to have a sport that attracts more young people. The average age of those watching track and field is 55 years old. This is not sustainable.

“The key to making that vision a reality is creating a sport that people once more trust in,” added Coe.

“Athletics must be a sport that athletes, fans, sponsors, media and parents alike know is safe to compete in on a level playing field and one in which clean effort is rewarded and celebrated.”

The second part of WADA’s independent commission report is due to be released on January 14.

-Reuters

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