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Tue 19 Jan 2016 01:47 PM

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Qatar faces bribery claims probe over 2017 athletics bid

Head of the UK’s successful bid claims Qatar officials were offering ‘brown paper envelopes’

Qatar faces bribery claims probe over 2017 athletics bid
IAAF president Sebastian Coe said he was unaware of the allegations and would launch an investigation into the claims. (Getty Images)

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is to launch an investigation into claims of bribery related to Qatar’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2017 world athletics championship, the organisation’s chairman has confirmed.

Qatar and the UK were shortlisted as the final bidders to host the event next year. While the UK was the ultimate winner, Ed Warner, the chairman of UK Athletics, has claimed a senior IAAF official warned him the night before the final vote that Qatari officials were offering ‘brown paper envelopes’ to delegates in a bid to win hosting of the event.

In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek, Warner said: “The night before the bid a very senior person in the IAAF hierarchy told me and my bid team that they understood certain members of the IAAF Council were being called upstairs one by one to a hotel suite to be given a brown envelope.

“It was quite shocking to hear it and my message to our bid team was: ‘Just ignore that. We are London, we do it the British way. We have no brown envelopes – even if we did, we’d have nothing to stuff into them. Let’s focus on our lobbying.’

He also claimed that Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack, “was asking for $5 million from Qatar to support their bid.”

Speaking on the same radio show, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said he was unaware of the allegations and would launch an investigation into the claims.

Qatar has denied any wrongdoing in relation to its bid to host the 2017 event.

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