NINE-DAY WONDER The sport of athletics needs a complete overhaul. The idea of men of ‘integrity’ volunteering to ‘serve the sport’ without any monetary reward has now been officially debunked. The findings of the Diack Pound-led WADA probe must never be allowed to be a nine-day wonder. The officials who have been indicted and suspended are but the tip of a very large iceberg. There many associates of the sleaze previously known as the IAAF that have to be exposed and removed from office. The call by British Athletics to expunge all the previous world records and to start anew may be extreme, but it is an idea that needs to be contemplated. This column has long reminded readers that there were leaders of athletics in many of the countries who were of the opinion that the ‘stars’ of the sport should be mollycoddled and supported no matter what and that any positive drug test by a ‘star’ must be (a) vehemently denied, and (b) if the tests are conclusive, blame the test, blame the tester, blame the procedure, but under no circumstances blame the athlete. We now know that many of the world’s top athletes have been able to be one step ahead of the tests and testers, and it is now conformed that some among the complicity of doctors, laboratories, and dope-control officers have been corrupt and complicit in allowing cheaters and downright crooks to continue to ‘trick us’. The Pound-led probe has exposed the dark underbelly of a corrupt organisation that can only begin to restore trust if ALL the principals of the organisation are removed. There can be no sacred cows. A fresh start is mandatory. The second aspect of the WADA-commissioned report on corruption in the sport of athletics was published last week. In summary, it stated that not only did the IAAF ‘s president and a powerful rogue group extort athletes and allow doping athletes to continue competing, but more damningly, the report stated that “far more members of the IAAF staff knew about the problems than has currently been acknowledged”. The present president of the IAAF, Lord Sebastian Coe, was a vice-president and an acknowledged “disciple” of the previous president, Lamine Diack, for eight years and yet swears that he knew nothing, he saw nothing, and heard nothing that could have aroused his interest or suspicion while the acts of corruption and bribery contained in the report were committed. Astonishingly, Lord Coe remains unfazed by these reports and continues as the leader of an international organisation that has lost all its credibility and the trust of athletes and fans worldwide. The leaders of football (FIFA), athletics (IAAF), and cricket (WICB) have been exposed by whistle-blowers (insiders and previous board members) and yet continue to insist that ‘everything criss’ until the police became involved. The world owes whistle-blowers a debt of gratitude that only time will be able to quantify.