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Anti-Doping Group Accuses World Track Agency of Corruption

The World Anti-Doping Agency accused track and field's international governing body of corruption on Thursday, saying it knew about widespread doping by Russian athletes but did little to stop it.

In a blistering sequel to a November report that outlined doping allegations against Russia, a WADA commission said the graft went all the way to the top of the IAAF, including former president Lamine Diack, who "sanctioned and appears to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes."

Lamine Diack, Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putn and IAAF President Lamine Diack. Mikhail Klimentyev / AP file

At one point, Diack — who has since been arrested on suspicion of blackmailing athletes and taking bribes to cover up damning test results — told a lawyer that he hoped to resolve cases involving several suspected Russian athletes with Russian President Vladimir Putin, "with whom he had struck up a friendship," the report said.

The WADA panel also said the IAAF executive board, which includes current IAAF president Sebastian Coe, must have known about the doping — and the nepotism that helped it flourish.

As panel members announced their findings in Munich, Coe, who replaced Diack last summer, sat in the audience, listening to former WADA head Dick Pound describe the IAAF as an organization in denial about the extent of the problem.

WADA Recommends Suspension of Russian Team at Rio Games 0:57

Coe, who took over the presidency in August, had praised Diack in the past, before the charges against him emerged. But Pound said he believed Coe didn't understand the scale of his predecessor's wrongdoings when he ascended to the IAAF's top post.

Pound also said Coe deserved to remain at the agency's helm and lead it out of the crisis with the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil set to begin in August.

Thursday's charges followed a November report by WADA that accused Russia of widespread, systematic doping. The IAAF, suspended the agency overseeing the sport in Russia, an unprecedented move that could keep Russian track and field athletes out of the Summer Olympics. Russian officials said they hoped to reform operations in time to get the suspension lifted before the games in Brazil.

Pound said Thursday he wasn't sure Russia will clean itself up in time.

Image: A file photo shows urine samples prepared for testing
An August 2004 file photo shows urine samples prepared for testing. FABRICE COFFRINI / EPA File