IAAF 2021 Eugene decision investigated by French authorities

Oregon city with close links to Nike was awarded World Athletics Championships

The IAAF’s decision to award the 2021 World Athletics Championships to Eugene is under investigation by French authorities, according to the BBC.

The American city in Oregon, which has close ties to the sportswear company Nike through its TrackTown USA athletics centre, was awarded the event in April without a vote. Last month, an email was obtained by the BBC that showed a senior Nike executive, Craig Masback, discussing a conversation with the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Sebastian Coe, about the bid.

A report from the BBC on Wednesday claimed that French prosecutors are now looking into the decision in addition to their investigations into corruption allegations involving former IAAF president Lamine Diack.

In the email to the Eugene bid leader, Vin Lananna, Masback said Coe made his support for Eugene clear but that he believed no decision would be taken until November 2016, after Diack had left his post.


“I spoke with Seb this morning. We covered several topics but I asked specifically about 2021. He made clear his support for 2021 in Eugene but made equally clear that he had reached out to Diack specifically on this topic and got a clear statement from Diack that ‘I am not going to take any action at that April meeting [IN BEIJING]to choose a 2021 site’,” said the email, sent in January 2015 before Coe, then a vice-president, won the race to succeed Diack.

“Seb made it clear that if he is elected president that he is willing to consider as early as next November choosing the 2021 site.”

Lananna has previously insisted Nike played no role in the bid. Those close to Coe point out that what he told the Nike executive was no different to the information he was giving to others about the 2021 race.

Coe has since relinquished his controversial £100,000 a year role as a Nike ambassador but still maintains that it was not a conflict of interest with his duties as IAAF president.

(Guardian service)