Former doping chief Dick Pound carries fight against corruption in athletics | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 14.01.2016
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Former doping chief Dick Pound carries fight against corruption in athletics

Following the release of the second report in Munich, DW's Jonathan Harding spoke with chief of the independent commission, Dick Pound, about tackling corruption, the hunt for solid evidence and power in the IAAF.

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Pound: Checks are important for transparency

Q: So we've just finished the conference and you said Lord Coe was the right man for the job. Considering the size of the IAAF and the corruption that has happened, how does it go forward? How does it tackle that kind of corruption?

A: First, I have to take on board that things got out of control to levels you would not have expected and with outcomes you would not have expected. We have got to stop that from ever happening again. How do we do that? Do we have codes of ethics? Do we have ethics officers or compliance officers or ombudsman? We've got to be able to learn about bad conduct either in advance or soon enough to do something about it quickly, so we've got to figure out how best to do that and create a positive duty and obligation, that if something is wrong, you must report it.

Q: You spoke about Russia and that's been the main focus of the two reports, but was there a reason that other countries weren't picked out, such as Kenya, for example?

A: Simply because the evidence was not mature enough to deal with it. In the case of the Russians, we had a whole set of whistleblowers evidence, we had documents; it was no longer one of these 'he-said-she-said' situations where everything is deniable. There's the evidence. That did not exist in Kenya and I think the work that Hajo Seppelt did was very good. But he had to deal with the fact that he was not going to get any help, if he focused on the athletes, so he's looking at the supply side of things to show how easy it is to get some of these drugs in Kenya. But that's of a different level. Kenya has been slow and very reluctant to acknowledge there's a problem and they have finally got some kind of task force in place. We hope that it will be a genuine investigation, but if people are not satisfied that it is, then there will probably be another independent commission.

Q: You spoke about Lamine Diack this morning; he's been an essential figure. How bad is that? Family, corruption, etc. You said that kind of thing cannot happen again, but is it surprising that it happened in the first place?

A: It is. I don't know whether there is a cultural thing or not, getting your family involved, but what was more important is that this is the president of an international federation that for years and years has trumpeted fair play, honesty and competition and the corruption starts at the very top. It's not like some foreign exchange thing in a bank: this is the president of the organization, the treasurer, the head of the anti-doping department. These are people entrusted by the world, including by athletes and sponsors and the viewing public to make sure the sport runs properly - and they are the ones corrupting it. That's not good.

Q: Finally, just about transparency. That must be the key: a move away from concentrated power or corruption and maybe more democracy back into the federation?

A: I think its human nature as such that checks and balances are important and having untrammeled power centralized in the president who is basically the only one there on a 24-365 basis; council members come-and-go; there are two meetings per year; there's a congress every two years. The amount of power concentrated in that leadership is huge, so you need to recognize that as a matter of human nature that it has to be checked some way.

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