Britain’s Olympic and world champion Mo Farah said he had no plans to end his relationship with coach Alberto Salazar, despite allegations the American had encouraged his athletes to use illegal substances.
“I’m not leaving Alberto, for the reason I’ve not seen any clear evidence,” Farah told a news conference in Birmingham, central England, on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s Diamond League meeting in the city.
“I spoke to Alberto (on Friday night), I got on the phone and said to him, ‘Alberto, what’s going on?’ and he said, ‘Mo, I can prove this to you – it’s just allegations – I’ll show you some evidence’, and I said, ‘Okay’.
“I’m really angry at this situation. It’s not fair, it’s not right. I haven’t done anything but my name’s getting dragged through the mud,” added Farah, who did the double in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the 2012 Olympics, 2013 World Championships and last year’s European Championships under Salazar’s guidance.”
“It’s not fair” — Mo Farah apparently still can’t see what’s wrong with working with coach Alberto Salazar. pic.twitter.com/IpYl5pqHdG
— Stefan Smith (@StefanASmith) June 6, 2015
However, he added he would end his relationship with Salazar if the allegations were upheld.
“It’s something not in my control but I want to know answers,” Farah said.
“I need to know what’s going on — if these things are true, if they’re not true. If they turn out to be true, and Alberto has crossed the line, I’m the first person to leave him,” the 32-year-old insisted.
“My reputation is getting ruined. You guys (the media) are killing me.
“I’m a clean athlete. I’m against drugs 100 percent and believe anyone caught should be banned for life.
“But it’s not about me, so please – it’s about Alberto. So let’s put this on Alberto. Let’s see if Alberto can prove to us… Till then, there’s nothing we can do. I’ve got a big race on the weekend. If I don’t win, you guys will give me a hard time!
“So let me concentrate on the weekend, but yes there’s answers I think the public and the people are owed. They need to know what’s going on, and I need to know myself what’s going on.”
— Vikki Orvice (@vikkiorvice) June 6, 2015
UK Athletics (UKA) performance director Neil Black added: “To make it clear, Mo is saying all of his records are available to the relevant authorities – there’s nothing Mo feels he has to hide.”
A BBC documentary, broadcast on Wednesday, alleged Salazar, 56, had encouraged athletes including America’s Olympic 10,000 metres silver medallist Galen Rupp, a training partner of Farah, to use illegal substances.
Both Salazar and Rupp, silver medallist behind Farah in the 10,000m at the 2012 London Olympics, have insisted they are innocent of the allegations.
Meanwhile Farah himself has not been accused of wrongdoing by the BBC.
Salazar, a three-time winner of the New York Marathon, has worked with Rupp since the American was a teenager and has coached Farah since 2011.
Before Farah’s press conference, UKA — the national governing body for the sport in Britain — issued a statement saying it had “absolutely no concerns over the conduct and coaching methods of Alberto Salazar in relation to Mo Farah or in his role as an endurance consultant”.
Nevertheless, UKA said it planned to undertake a “focused review of the performance management system surrounding Mo Farah and the endurance programme, engaging relevant independent experts where required”.
Farah adds that if Alberto Salazar is found guilty of anything, “I’m the first to leave him”. pic.twitter.com/9bYQaZGpgK
— PA Sport (@pasport) June 6, 2015
None of the athletes from the Oregon Project in Portland, run by Salazar and backed by US sports manufacturer giant Nike, has ever failed a drugs test
But Steve Magness, who worked as an assistant to Salazar at the Oregon Project in 2011, told the BBC’s Panorama programme he had seen a document showing Rupp’s blood chart, which revealed that he had taken prohibited testosterone medication as a teenager.
David Howman, chief executive of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), said he believed the documentary’s claims warranted scrutiny.
“I would be not only disturbed, I would be very disappointed and that’s why I think it needs to be scrutinised by us as an independent body,” said Howman.