World athletics' governing body 'blocked' doping study

Credit: DPA/Press Association Images

A doping study that allegedly revealed a third of top athletes admitted cheating was blocked by the world athletics' governing body, The Sunday Times has reported.

The newspaper accused the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) of stopping the 2011 study from being published and prevented its authors from speaking about it.

The report quotes staff at Germany's University of Tubingen, which led the research, as saying 29-34% of 1,800 athletes had confessed to using banned substances or performance-enhancing techniques in the previous 12 months.

When asked about the study - which was financed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) - being held back, lead author Rolf Ulrich said: "The IAAF is blocking it. I think they are stakeholders with Wada and they just blocked the whole thing."

The IAAF is quoted in the report as saying: "Discussions are ongoing with the research team and Wada regarding publication."

The report comes days after the IAAF announced 28 athletes were facing disciplinary action over historical doping offences.

The body said the re-testing of anti-doping urine samples from the 2005 and 2007 World Championships in Helsinki and Osaka had turned up 32 adverse findings from 28 athletes.

The Sunday Times has accused the IAAF of previously turning a blind eye to suspicious blood tests involving hundreds of athletes - a claim the body refutes.