BY MIKE ROWBOTTOM
Athletes here coached by Alberto Salazar, banned for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), are receiving notice from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) prohibiting them from future association.
They include Sifan Hassan, the Ethiopian-born athlete now representing The Netherlands who won the women’s 10,000 metres title here on Saturday (September 28) in only her second race at the distance and is eyeing gold in either the 1,500m or 5,000m.
David Howman, chairman of the AIU, exclusively told insidethegames: “Salazar has been stripped of his accreditation for this event, and that means that notices have to be given to the athletes under his coaching so that they don’t associate with him now that he has been banned.
“No athlete can be charged with prohibited association unless they have been notified about the coach or person they shouldn’t be associated with.
“So we have to give them written, formal notices to say ‘you cannot associate with your coach’.
“We are doing that today.”
Howman stressed there was no direct assumption made about any athlete who may have worked with Salazar.
“An athlete is not guilty by association,” he said.
“Not unless you then defy the prohibition order, so to speak, and return to the coach.
“There are some athletes who will be under our auspices, and some that will be given notice by USADA.
“All we are doing here is notifying those who are here.
“So there are several athletes here who will be getting notices today.
“We just want to make sure that nothing happens here.
“So that’s the immediate issue – making sure the athletes are notified.
“We’ll put something up on our website, USADA will put something up on their website – notice can be by a number of methods.
“But we just chose here for it to be the old-fashioned notice – here’s your piece of paper.”
USADA said Salazar’s punishment was for “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct” as head coach of the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), a camp designed primarily to develop US endurance athletes.
It was attended for some years by Britain’s multiple Olympic and world champion Mo Farah until he severed his contract and switched coaches.
USADA said Salazar trafficked banned performance-enhancing substance testosterone to multiple athletes.
Salazar was also said to have tampered, or attempted to tamper, with NOP athletes’ doping control process, the agency said after concluding its four-year investigation.
Jeffrey Brown, who worked as a paid consultant endocrinologist for NOP on performance enhancement and served as a physician for numerous athletes in the training programme, also received a four-year ban.
Asked how big a coup the USADA announcement was in the battle against doping in athletes, Howman responded: “I have to read the decision before I make a comment – and it’s a 142-page decision.
“But it seems to me that what USADA did was an extraordinarily good job in terms of pulling together cases involving not only Salazar, but also the doctor.
“But to know what the tribunal decided in relation to the evidence I don’t know, so I would like to read it very carefully, and then I could say ‘Well this is pretty pivotal, this doesn’t matter’, and so forth.”
Howman said that the relevant section in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Code regarding association had been brought in to play a month ago in relation to the Russian race-walking coach Vladimir Kazarin.
“He was continuing to coach although he had been banned,” he said.
“So we had to have an extra sanction imposed on the athletes he was coaching because they knew that he was banned.
“You also have to appreciate, of course, that those who have been sanctioned have got rights of appeal.
“So we want to be careful about over-stating and over-suggesting.”
To read the full decision on Salazar click here.
For the full judgement on Brown click here.