By Steve Keating
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Frank Fredericks will stay on the IAAF Council while an ethics board reviews allegations that he accepted payments before the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio, Sebastian Coe, the organization’s head, said on Tuesday.
Fredericks, an International Olympic Committee member, stepped down two weeks ago as head of the team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Olympics and has also removed himself from the IAAF task force looking into doping in Russia.
Despite the allegations, however, he will remain a member of the IAAF council while the ethics board determines if an investigation is necessary.
“We are speaking with Frank; he has stepped aside from the Russian task force so he has stepped aside from his functions within the council,” Coe told Reuters following a presentation at the Leaders Sport Business Summit on Tuesday.
Doping and votes-for-pay controversies continue to haunt athletics as Coe desperately tries to push away the dark clouds by implementing reforms he hopes will put the spotlight back on the track.
Asked if he believed other IAAF council members could be caught up in the scandal, Coe said he had no idea.
“We are just getting on with delivering sport,” said Coe. “We are the subject of scrutiny and investigation but I can’t give you any insight into that at all.”
French prosecutors are investigating whether bribery was involved in the awarding of the 2021 world athletics championships to the U.S. city of Eugene and are also looking into several other host city decisions.
Despite the distractions Coe told an audience of influential sports business people that he remains focused on restoring confidence and trust in athletics and returning the sport to its former glory.
While cleaning up years of scandal have taken up much of Coe’s time it is the future that most concerns him and how to make the sport more attractive to fans and viewers.
He said some hints were provided by the recent Nitro Athletics Series event in Melbourne won by the Usain Bolt-led team of international ‘All-Stars.’
Coe admitted ‘power play’ events that award double points to winners and gimmicks such as the mile eliminations and mixed distance medleys all played out to rock music soundtrack would leave purists cringing but change was necessary.
“You don’t expect everything you see on the catwalk to ending up on coat hangers in retail stores,” said Coe. “I think Nitro gave us some clues. We have to do more to connect.
“I saw three nights of full houses. ..most sports have innovative and we have been slow.
“It was a breath of fresh air.”