Sebastian Coe, left, and Thomas Bach claim to have discussed the issue of IOC membership ©Getty Images

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe claims to have agreed not to become a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this year in order to focus on forcing through reforms within his own sport.

The Briton claimed he had discussed his potential addition to sport's most exclusive club with IOC counterpart Thomas Bach.

But Coe insisted he is prioritising involvement in sporting bodies which directly affect athletics, such as the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) of which he is now a Board member.

It comes after insidethegames revealed that France's Jean-Christophe Rolland and Belgium's Ingmar de Vos, the respective Presidents of World Rowing and the International Equestrian Federation, are due to be proposed as two new representatives of sporting Federations at next month's IOC Session in Lima.

Coe was overlooked along with others including FIFA boss Gianni Infantino and International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer.

"I was very clear, as I was to the [IAAF] Congress yesterday, that we are halfway through a four-year process," Coe said here when speaking alongside Bach following a joint IOC and IAAF Executive Board meeting before the World Athletics Championships starting today.

"My focus was on making sure that all the reforms we have started can continue.

"I am on the ASOIF Board. 

"It is on that Board that many of the decisions that directly affect our sport are made.

"I sit on the Coordination Commission for Tokyo so will be keeping an eagle eye on our progress there in our sport."

Sebastian Coe, second right, claims to be prioritising ongoing reforms within the IAAF ©Getty Images
Sebastian Coe, second right, claims to be prioritising ongoing reforms within the IAAF ©Getty Images

His comments follow speculation that Coe has been overlooked for IOC membership partly due to tension with Bach which has emerged since their respective organisations chose different ways to respond to the Russian doping scandal.

Russia remains suspended from the IAAF following evidence of state-sponsored doping while the IOC chose to allow Russians to compete so long as they fulfilled eligibility criteria defined by each International Federation.

But Bach insisted today that they responded differently because the IAAF and the Russian Athletics Federation were the only organisations directly implicated in wrongdoing.

Coe's predecessor Lamine Diack was elected an IOC member in 1999, the same year as he assumed the IAAF Presidency, before graduating to honorary status in 2013.

He resigned from that position two years later amid allegation of his involvement in accepting bribes in return for covering up Russian doping cases.

It is possible Coe could still be proposed for IOC membership soon, with a fresh batch due to be admitted in February during the Session in Pyeongchang held during the Winter Olympics.

By this stage, Princess Anne and World Anti-Doping Agency head Sir Craig Reedie should be the only British IOC members.

Sebastian Coe's predecessor Lamine Diack, left, became an IOC member soon after his election ©Getty Images
Sebastian Coe's predecessor Lamine Diack, left, became an IOC member soon after his election ©Getty Images

Sir Philip Craven is due to stand down when he relinquishes his International Paralympic Committee Presidency next month before Adam Pengilly reaches the end of his eight-years on the IOC Athletes' Commission in Pyeongchang.

"You know that following the reforms in the IOC, we have to follow our regulations with regard to the recruitment of new members," Bach added here today about Coe.

“There, before this procedure started, Seb and I had a conversation and we came to the conclusion that now might not be the right time.

“In particular because Seb was of the opinion that he would like to concentrate on the implementation of the wide-ranging reforms in the IAAF."

Coe described this as a "very good interpretation" of the conversations they have had.