29 Jun 2017

FBI investigates award of 2021 Athletics World Championships

10:42 am on 29 June 2017

The controversial decision to award the 2021 World Athletics Championships to Eugene, Oregon is being investigated by the FBI and the Criminal Division of America's Internal Revenue Service (IRS), according to the BBC.

The Sunday Times and ARD/WRD have obtained access to the results of 12,000 blood tests from 5000 athletes.

. Photo: 123RF

The US city was awarded the event in 2015 with athletics' governing body the IAAF bypassing the usual formal bidding process.

French prosecutors investigating corruption within the IAAF launched their own inquiry into the awarding of the event in 2015.

Former IAAF president Lamine Diack, who is now effectively under house arrest in France over corruption allegations, was at the centre of the decision.

Eugene was handed the event despite strong interest from the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

The Oregon city is closely associated with Nike, whose birthplace is only a few miles away.

Nike funds much of the University of Oregon's sports facilities, where many of Eugene 2021 events will be held.

A BBC story in November 2015 suggested the IAAF president Lord Coe may have lobbied his predecessor over the bid, and revealed he had discussed it with a senior Nike executive.

At that time Lord Coe was paid £100,000 a year as an ambassador for Nike. Lord Coe denied he had lobbied anyone on behalf of Eugene's bid.

However, he stepped down from his Nike role - which he had held for 38 years - later that month saying accusations of a conflict of interest were not "a distraction" and "not good for Nike or the IAAF".

Bjorn Eriksson, who was the head of the Gothenburg team denied the opportunity to stage a rival bid, said it had been a 'violation of fair play.'

Now, the BBC understands, the American authorities - including tax investigators at the IRS - are seeking to investigate if there has been any wrongdoing committed in the US, bringing to total number of agencies investigating the awarding of the championships to three.

A spokeswoman for the IAAF said she was unaware of any FBI and IRS probes.

The FBI famously investigated corruption in football's world governing body Fifa, resulting in guilty pleas from numerous high-ranking officials.