MUNICH: World athetics’ president Lord Sebastian Coe has said he now accepts there was a cover up of doping in athletics under his predecessor Lamine Diack at the IAAF.

But he said he knew nothing about the corruption in world athletics’ governing body and described it as “abhorrent” and a “horror show”.

On Wednesday, Coe had denied the existence of a cover-up over Russian dope test. But he made a volte-face after Dick Pound’s latest report to the World Anti-Doping Agency said Coe “could not have been unaware” of attempts to cover up doping.

Coe, in an interview with Sky News, said: “There’s no monopoly of wisdom here. We are not in denial. We know this has been a cover up. The delays were a cover up.”

Pound had said: “The IAAF Council could not have been unaware of the extent of doping in athletics and non-enforcement of anti-doping rules.

“It is increasingly clear that far more IAAF staff knew about the problems than has currently been acknowledged.”

Future prospects

Despite this, Pound did not undermine Coe’s future prospects.

He said: “We have pointed out that the council could not have been unaware and we hold to that but as far as the ablity of Lord Coe is concerned, it’s a fabulous opportunity for the IAAF to seize this opportunity and, under strong leadership, to move forward.

“Theres an enormous amount of reputational recovery which has to occur and I can’t think of anyone better than Lord Coe to lead that.”

Challenged again about Coe’s credibility to lead the IAAF rescue, Pound added: “I don’t want to lay the failures of the entire council at the feet of one individual. I don’t think that would be fair or organisationally responsive.

“You learn from experience and experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. We did this in the IOC 15 years ago. We had some very bad expereience and took on board that it was our fault and we had to solve it and we did.

“I’m sure that, with the best goodwill, that if athletics wants to do that then it will find a way to do it.”