A study has reported that the governing body of athletics suppressed a survey in 2011 that revealed a third of the world’s top competitors had admitted taking banned substances.
The claims were made by the British newspaper the Sunday Times and the German broadcaster ARD/WDR, who were given access to the study, which was conducted by the University of Tubingen in Germany.
The research undertaken involved interviews with 1,800 athletes at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, with the results showing that 29-34 percent of those asked had broken anti-doping rules over the last 12 months. However, whilst conducting the study, the authors of the project were told to sign a confidentiality agreement.
The university was scathing of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)
“The IAAF’s delaying publication for so long without good reason is a serious encroachment on the freedom of publication,” a statement from the researchers said, as cited by Reuters.
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The statement added that the IAAF had not commissioned the survey but had used its influence to suppress the findings. The study was financed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which told the Sunday Times that it had given the IAAF the power to veto the publication of the survey in return for allowing access to the athletes at the 2011 championships.
However, the lead author of the project, Rolf Ulrich, hit out, saying that the team was not even allowed to discuss its work that had been carried out.
“The IAAF is blocking it,” Ulrich told the newspaper. “I think they are stakeholders with WADA and they just blocked the whole thing.”
The revelations are another serious blow to the IAAF, which has faced a number of doping scandals and claim over the last 12 months.