FBI Investigating IAAF Awarding 2021 World Athletics Championships to Eugene

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2017

Hayward Field is viewed during the Prefontaine Classic track and field meet in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, May 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Don Ryan/Associated Press

The FBI and a division of the IRS have launched an investigation into the decision by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to have Eugene, Oregon, host the 2021 World Athletics Championships. 

According to the BBC's Mark Daly and Calum McKay, Eugene was named the host city in 2015 during a secret vote by the IAAF council.

At issue is IAAF president Sebastian Coe's role in the bidding process. At the time of the vote, Coe was not only the IAAF's vice president but also an ambassador for Nike. He resigned from the position in November 2015, saying the "current noise level around this ambassadorial role is not good for the IAAF and it is not good for Nike."

Daly and McKay first reported a January 2015 email titled "2021" from Craig Masback, an executive from Nike, in which he referenced Coe's support behind Eugene's host bid:

"I spoke with Seb this morning. We covered several topics but I asked specifically about 2021.

"He made clear his support for 2021 in Eugene but made equally clear he had reached out to [former IAAF president Lamine Diack] specifically on this topic and got a clear statement from Diack that 'I am not going to take any action at the April meeting [in Beijing] to choose a 2021 site'."

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During the meeting in Beijing, the IAAF named Eugene as host for the 2021 World Championships in what Daly and McKay classified as a "surprise vote."

French authorities launched an investigation of their own into the vote in December 2015.