LONDON, June 11 – Mo Farah faces questions over exactly when he knew the seriousness of the doping allegations being levelled against his coach Alberto Salazar and training partner Galen Rupp, after the Guardian was able to confirm he was contacted by the BBC nearly a month before the Panorama programme was aired.
When Farah faced the world’s media on Saturday he said he had found out “maybe three to four days before”, adding “they asked me some questions, like have you taken thyroid”.
However, the Guardian has seen the BBC’s initial email to Farah and his agent Ricky Simms, which is clearly dated 6 May, four weeks before the programme was broadcast.
That email, which was sent to both men’s personal accounts, revealed that the BBC was working on a 60-minute documentary about drugs in athletics but did not intend to make any allegations that Farah himself had broken any rules.
Crucially, however, it stated that they were investigating “a number of claims about alleged breaches of Wada (World Anti-Doping Agency) rules, including the use of prohibited drugs, involving your coach Alberto Salazar and your Nike Oregon Project (NOP) team-mate Galen Rupp”.
Farah was then asked a number of short questions. It is understood that he replied a fortnight later.
The Guardian understands that the BBC also sent a much lengthier list of questions and allegations to Rupp, with Simms – who is the American’s agent as well as Farah’s – cc-ed on the email.
The BBC is understood to have received a reply a fortnight later.
The Guardian asked Simms to confirm those emails were received and to clarify Farah’s comments from the press conference in light of those emails.
He said that it would be best to wait, pending the publication of Salazar’s rebuttal to the BBC and Panorama, which is expected by the end of the week.
In a statement to the Guardian on Monday, Salazar – who heads the prestigious Nike Oregon Project where Farah has trained since 2011 – promised to “document and present the facts as quickly as I can so that Galen and Mo can focus on doing what they love and have worked so hard to achieve”.
It is also understood that Salazar, who was also contacted by the BBC on 6 May, is preparing a number of documents, emails and sworn testimony to back up his case.
Farah is now back in Portland, having pulled out of the Birmingham Grand Prix on Sunday after feeling emotionally and physically drained, and is not scheduled to race again until the Anniversary Games in London at the end of July.
There is no suggestion that Farah has committed any offense, and at the press conference on Saturday he admitted he was angry that his name was being “dragged through the mud”.
In a polished performance, Farah answered every question fully and comprehensively as he told reporters:
“I haven’t done anything. That’s why I am so angry. It has affected my foundation, I don’t want kids to think I am doing something dodgy, when I am not.”
-By The Guardian-