Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah will be investigated by British Athletics in an independent review into “blood data, supplements data, everything surrounding his medical treatment,” UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner said on BBC Radio on Monday.
“We need to make sure there’s nothing else there that we haven’t seen, we’re not aware of, hasn’t been analyzed,” Warner said. “It may well be that the outcome of our own investigation says there’s nothing untoward been going on as far as we can uncover in any way, shape or form around British athletics and a British athlete.”
Farah’s coach, American Alberto Salazar, was accused of cheating by former members of their Nike Oregon Project training group in a BBC and ProPublica report last week.
Farah was not implicated in “inappropriate drug use” by any of the former Nike Oregon Project team members interviewed, according to ProPublica. He has never failed a drug test.
Warner said he thought the UK Athletics investigation would take weeks, not months.
“One of the possible outcomes of all of this is, even though — and I’m sure that’s probably going to be the case — there’s nothing untoward being proven around Mo Farah and British Athletics, we might still recommend to Mo and might still decide ourselves to suspend our relationship [with Salazar] because of the reputational damage that could be caused,” Warner said.
Warner also said a formal process will review “every aspect of our relationship” with Salazar. The chairman called the BBC and ProPublica report a “seismic shock to the sport.”
“If I was a close mate of Mo’s, and he was asking me personally — not as the chairman of British Athletics — ‘What do you think I should do?’ I might have been inclined to say, ‘Do you know what? The easiest thing for you to do right now is to suspend that relationship [with Salazar], take a breather, see how it all plays out, run the circuit in the summer in Europe, on to the World Championships in Beijing, and see what transpires,'” Warner said. “It’s a very fine decision. There’s loyalty issues. Nothing has been proven against Alberto Salazar.”
Farah made his first public comments since last week’s report in a press conference Saturday ahead of a scheduled race in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Sunday. Farah later pulled out of the race.
“This week has been very stressful and taken a lot out of me,” Farah said in a statement announcing he would withdraw. “I have not been able to focus properly on [Sunday’s] race and after the events of the last few days feel emotionally and physically drained. I want to run well in the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing and have decided it is better for me to go back to the U.S., seek answers to my questions and get back into training.”
On Saturday, Farah said he wouldn’t leave Salazar because he hasn’t seen “clear evidence” against the coach but said he would leave if the allegations were proven true.
“I need some answers,” Farah said he told Salazar. “He goes, ‘Mo, I can prove this to you. These are just allegations. I’ll show you some evidence.'”
Farah said it’s not fair that his name “is getting dragged through the mud” despite not being accused of wrongdoing.
“If Alberto has crossed the line, I’m the first person to leave him,” Farah said.