olympic games, IOC.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Alistair Ross, used under CC BY

The world athletics body IAAF was set to rule Friday in Vienna whether Russian athletes will be banned from the upcoming Olympics, but the decision was overshadowed by allegations that IAAF chief Sebastian Coe had been slow to respond to the Russian scandal.

British broadcaster BBC reported Thursday that Coe had been informed about the doping case of Russian marathon runner Lilya Shobukhova four months before a German broadcaster ARD made it public in late 2014, in a documentary on systematic doping in Russia.

In addition, BBC alleged that the son of Coe's disgraced Senegalese predecessor Lamine Diack, Papa Massata Diack, had organized the votes that secured Coe the election as IAAF chief last August.

As evidence, BBC presented text messages between Coe and Diack Jr, who is wanted by Interpol for corruption, and whose father is charged with abuse of office and money laundering in France.

The IAAF responded by saying that Diack Jr had offered unsolicited advice to Coe.

"He sent messages of support while at the same time supporting other candidates and accusing Seb Coe of leading a British media campaign against both him and his father," IAAF said.

Regarding the second allegation, IAAF acknowledged that Coe had received information about doping allegations while he was still IAAF deputy chief, but the athletics body stressed that Coe had reacted appropriately by forwarding the material to its Ethics Commission.

Against this background, IAAF's governing Council was gathering in Vienna to determine whether Russia has set up a functioning anti-doping structure in response to a report by world anti-doping agency WADA that detailed systematic cheating in Russian athletics.

On Wednesday, WADA issued further allegations that 736 planned doping tests of Russia competitors were thwarted between February and May.

The Council was set to announce at 5 pm (1500 GMT) whether the entire Russian team will be banned or admitted to the games in Rio de Janeiro in August, or whether clean athletes will be allowed to take part.

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