Doping allegations currently rocking athletics, if proven, will create as big as a scandal as the one involving Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson in 1988, International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Presidential candidate Sebastian Coe believes.
Both the IAAF and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) are currently investigating allegations of a cover-up of systematic doping in Russia, with a German TV investigation broadcast on ARD accusing a huge number of Russian athletes of being implicated.
Since then, Russian Athletics Federation President Valentin Balakhnichev has stepped down from his position as IAAF treasurer, and IAAF marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack, son of the body's President Lamine Diack, has also resigned.
There are also claims a list exists naming 150 athletes with suspicious blood results taken between 2006 to 2008, with a "high profile" athlete from Coe's native Great Britain said to be among the names.
IAAF deputy general secretary Nick Davies has claimed reports this list is conclusive proof of doping, and of an IAAF cover-up, are "misleading" and "unethical".
But Coe, a former two-time Olympic 1500 metres champion and IAAF vice-president since 2011, admitted the latest in long line of doping allegations were "ghastly" for the sport.
"Ben Johnson in 1988, Marion Jones, this is up there and nobody is remotely suggesting these allegations are not serious."
"It's been described as a bad week for athletics - I would go further, it's been a ghastly week," he added.
"None of us should hide or shy away from that, we have to bring this tawdry, sorry episode and any of those allegations to a close as quickly as we can."
Turning his attention to the reported list, Coe's insisted he had not seen it, but urged ARD to hand over all of there evidence "to bring this to a close as quickly as possible".
"The simple answer is I don't know, the IAAF does not know what this list contains and whether it is a list that has any veracity at all," he said.
"The offer we make as a Federation is, if there is more information out there, if this German journalist feels there is a list, or whatever he's got, please let us know what it is.
"We would go to Berlin and look at what he's got but we have to get as much information as we can on this.
"Nobody at the IAAF has seen a list, what we understand is that this German journalist may have shown some people in the press a list of names, but nobody knows what this list is and the suspicion is that this list is not what this German journalist is purporting it to be."
These strong words from Coe come in the early stages of the IAAF Presidential race, where the Briton is expected to face opposition from Ukraine's International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member, and former pole vault superstar, Sergey Bubka.
Speaking to insidethegames during last week's IOC Session in Monte Carlo, Bubka called for a "rapid and thorough investigation of the allegations against Russian athletes", with Coe having since echoed a similar stance.
Meanwhile, speaking during the BBC's coverage of the European Cross Country Championships this morning in Samokov, Bulgaria, in which several Russian athletes won medals, Britain's marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe made a similar appeal.
"Questions have been raised and what is needed is a thorough investigation," she said.
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