Seb Coe Pledges Vigilance Over Human Rights in Doha

December 4, 2014

By Christian Radnedge

Seb Coe vows to be tough on 2019 World Athletics Championships host Doha over human rights issues, allergist as he bids to become president of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Coe was speaking at the launch of his manifesto titled ‘Growing Athletics in a New Age’ at the headquarters of the British Olympic Association on Wednesday – the organisation he chairs.

Doha was recently awarded the right to host the tournament by the IAAF council in Monaco.

The whole country, there Qatar, discount | has come in for criticism of working conditions and human rights abuses thanks to the spotlight of the 2022 FIFA World Cup being due to be played there.

Coe stressed that under his leadership, the IAAF would be vigilant in issues relating to their tournament now the showpiece is heading to the gulf.

“Yes, absolutely [we will be tough]” he said. “As tough as we were in London in terms of controlling the supply chain as well as we possibly could, making sure that everything we delivered in merchandising terms across the board was done to best possible standards.

“It is a discussion I had as chairman of the evaluation commission committee with the sports minister and interior minister in Qatar. So it is something we will monitor very, very closely.”

One of Coe’s key manifesto pledges was “ensuring integrity” and also embracing new territories, so the focus on Qatar will certainly have to be strong as it may influence other new markets to bid for events.

But the former Olympian also highlighted the point of “maximising commercial growth” and merely hinted at changing the way IAAF events were delivered in the future.


He said: “We are not a single sport, we are a very board diverse sport with many disciplines in them and we have to be very sure people understand the nature of our sport and the value and beauty of many of those events but they have to be presented in a very different way in future.”

The vote for the IAAF presidency will take place at the organisation’s congress meeting in Beijing next August.

But Coe already has a challenger in Ukrainian former pole vaulter Sergey Bubka, who last week announced his intention to stand.

Without referencing his fellow IAAF vice-president, Coe was adamant he did not want the campaign to devolve into a mud-slinging contest.

“That’s not the way I campaign,” he said. “That’s not the way we campaigned during London, that’s not the way I’ve ever campaigned in any election I’ve ever done. This is sport, this is for a sporting post and I hope the sport makes its judgement on what it sees its future as.

“I announced my candidacy last week, you have a manifesto in front of you; I want this to form the basis of an on-going discussion. None of the proposals in there are concrete, and I will give more details as the campaign develops through until August.”

SebCoe_Campaign3Coe not only has his sporting roles but also serves as the chairman of Marcoms group Chime’s sports marketing arm, CSM Sports and Entertainment.

Should he be elected president, the role may be seen as a conflict of interest.

But Coe insisted in the eventuality he was successful he would make the necessary changes, referring to how he dealt with a similar issue as head of the London 2012 Games.

“My focus and attention will be absolutely firmly rooted in delivering all the demands that are placed upon the presidency with all the corporate governances in place that we had in place during the seven years of delivery of the London Games” he said.

“But I think, as they might say in East London, we have been a little previous here. In the event that the sport decides I am a part of its future, then those are the adjustments I will address at the right time. But at the moment there is a tough election to be won.”

The IAAF will vote for a new president next year when current leader Lamine Diack steps down following 16 years in office.