Athletics doping problem "worse than cycling years ago" says the man who exposed scandal

Journalist Hajo Seppelt speaks to Off The Ball about legal letters he has received from IAAF

Athletics doping problem "worse than cycling years ago" says the man who exposed scandal

(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

When it comes to exposing the extent of doping in top level athletics, Hajo Seppelt has been at the heart of the fight.

It's somethjng the German journalist and filmmaker has spoken to Off The Ball about in terms of the investigation into doping regimes in Russia and elsewhere as well as his view of the International Association of Athletics Federations' responses

But in the last edition of The Sunday Times, journalist David Walsh revealed that Seppelt has been receiving legal letters from an IAAF under scrutiny in the wake of the recent scandals.

Tonight, Seppelt joined Joe Molloy on Off The Ball to shed light on what has been happening and his thoughts.

"Obviously they felt hurt because we criticised the way the IAAF was conducting doping controls or was performing the whole anti-doping regime for a lot of years and this was obviously a matter of concern for them and so they tried the first time in December 2014 to force me to sign a document declaring with my signature that I will not deliver the information to third parties - neither confidentially or in public - and I didn't sign this document," is Seppelt's reading of the issue as he told Joe of his reaction to receiving the legal letters.

Detailing the way the investigations have been handled in his documentaries - which earned the praise of independent commission chairman and ex-World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound - Seppelt highlights how careful they were in terms of names and specifics, adding that the "IAAF was always denying things which we have never claimed".

"I would call this an old-fashioned PR strategy to distract from the real facts," he said, before discussing the situation for the Russian whistleblowers who proved crucial during the investigation process.

Seppelt also said that he is "really disappointed" with the presidency of current IAAF chief Sebastian Coe - who has eschewed overtures to speak to the filmmaker - adding that he has "lost all the hope that he will change anything in athletics".

Seppelt concluded with the startling assertion that the extent of the doping problem in athletics is "so shocking that you would never expect that in athletics and it makes it even worse than cycling years ago!"