|—- While we have not seen the full open letter from French athletes, as reported by AFP today, we feel compelled to respond to this story in the strongest terms.
The IAAF does not advise, nor has it ever advised, an athlete on a preferred treatment route. The IAAF encourages relevant athletes to seek independent, medical advice and will, if requested, provide athletes with information on independent experts and reference centre specialists.
The IAAF has never forced any athlete affected by its regulations to undergo surgery, nor paid for any of their treatment. It has in some cases paid for the medical investigation and diagnosis of the athlete by an independent medical centre so the athlete is fully aware of her condition.
Regarding the Ugandan athlete, Annet Negesa, interviewed in the ARD documentary, the IAAF strongly denies any suggestion that the IAAF or Dr. Stephane Bermon was involved in her treatment or recommended any course of treatment to her.
Furthermore, contrary to the athlete’s interview in the ARD documentary, Dr. Bermon has never met the athlete in question and was not at either the consultation in Nice nor the surgery she speaks of in Uganda. We have made efforts to reach the athlete, through the Ugandan Athletics Federation, to understand why these false statements have been made but have so far been unable to reach her. Dr. Bermon, with IAAF support, is seeking advice on his legal rights and remedies to protect his reputation from false attack.