The Latest: British lawmaker says Coe must answer questions


VIENNA (AP) — The Latest on the IAAF’s meeting on Russia (all times local):

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12:55 p.m.

A British lawmaker says IAAF President Sebastian Coe is facing “very, very disturbing” allegations about his knowledge of Russia’s doping problems.

Jesse Norman, who chairs the Culture, Media and Sport select committee in Britain’s House of Commons, says Coe must answer further questions.

“I’d say it’s almost certain we’ll want to have Lord Coe back in front of the committee. I don’t want to get too far ahead of where the committee is going to be, but these are very serious matters,” Norman told the BBC.

The BBC’s Panorama program and the Daily Mail reported allegations Friday that Coe was aware of details of a Russian doping corruption case four months before it became public, and that he enlisted support for his presidential campaign from Papa Massata Diack, son of disgraced former IAAF President Lamine Diack.

Coe, who was a vice president of the IAAF at the time, denied any wrongdoing. He said the email was forwarded to the ethics commission and that he did not mislead the select committee when he appeared in December.

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11:25 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says Russia is committed to eradicating doping and punishing those who are responsible.

Dmitry Peskov spoke Friday as the IAAF was to decide whether to allow Russian athletes to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The IAAF’s ruling council convened in Vienna to consider whether to uphold or lift the suspension of Russia’s track and field federation.

Asked by reporters if Russia is preparing a legal response to the potential ban, Peskov says “we are doing everything we can in order to protect our athletes and will continue to do so.”

Asked if Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko could be fired if the country’s athletes are barred from the Olympics, Peskov says “it’s not expedient to link this with the sports minister.”

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11:20 a.m.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has written an open letter aimed at persuading the IAAF to allow his country’s track and field athletes to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The IAAF will decide later Friday whether to readmit Russia, which was suspended in November following a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report detailing systematic, state-sponsored doping.

Mutko writes that Russia has reformed its anti-doping system and that a ban from Rio for the entire track team would be unfair collective punishment for a problem which also exists in other countries.

He adds that “Russia has done everything that IAAF independent commission has rightly asked of us in order to be reinstated to athletic competition.”

Mutko does not address a new report Wednesday from WADA which said drug testers faced continued obstruction in Russia.

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11:10 a.m.

Track and field’s world governing body is meeting to decide whether to allow Russian track and field athletes to compete in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The IAAF’s ruling council convened in Vienna on Friday to consider whether to uphold or lift the suspension of Russia’s track and field federation.

The ban was imposed in November following a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission that alleged state-sponsored doping, cover-ups and corruption.

Russian officials claim they have met the conditions for reinstatement, but a new WADA report issued Wednesday cited continuing obstruction and violations of drug-testing in Russia.

Even if the IAAF decides to maintain the ban on the Russian federation, it could also consider a compromise that would allow individual athletes with a proven clean doping record to compete in the games.