Sunday, 04 June 2017 15:00

Britain remains a safe destination for sporting events - Lord Coe

Sebastian Coe insists there is nowhere safer to host this summer's World Athletics Championships than Britain in the wake of last week's terror attack in Manchester.

The chairman of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) refused to go into detail about security measures being put in place ahead of the event at London's Olympic Stadium in August following the atrocity last Monday.

Twenty-two people were killed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a device at the Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert. Dozens of others were injured as fans left the venue.

But Coe believes the previous experiences of hosting big sporting spectacles such as the 2012 Olympics prove London, and the country as a whole, is prepared to continue putting on a show.

“You'd be very surprised if I got into details about security,” he said at the launch of the volunteering scheme for the World Championships.

“I'm unashamed in my admiration for the police services throughout the UK. We worked very closely with the Metropolitan Police during the London years.

“Within the confines of what is an increasingly complicated and complex international landscape, there is probably no other country I would rather be in for a major championships than the UK, we do this extremely well.

“That is not tempting fate, we just have experience in putting sporting events on in a city that has always been global and has always been a target.

“I just know the sorts of discussions, the sorts of details that will be looked at and the reality is, I know from my experiences around London 2012 that our police service is extraordinary.

“I know the type of work, type of thinking, that won't have altered... and the circumstances, however awful and disgusting they were in Manchester.”

Asked if the World Championships would be another chance for sport to show the unity of the nation following on from last weekend's FA Cup final and the ICC Champions Trophy, which started on Thursday, Coe said: “It is important that sport is seen as part of this process.

“We have coaches at this very moment working in the most challenging communities throughout the world. Sport reaches places that lots of other organisations don't.

“Sport does this extremely well and sometimes we don't tell that story as well as we should.

“Sport is very important, you need the best security systems and inter-government communications but we mustn't ever forget that sport, at its best, is a celebration of humanity and the balance is always there not to turn the city or sporting event into lockdown.”

Coe also said he would not place an “artificial timeline” on the independent review of Russian athletes.

On Monday, three further Russians were approved by the IAAF to compete as neutrals, with the Russian federation still banned following breaches in anti-doping policy.

“Has progress been made? Yes it has,” added Coe.

“Does it continue to be made? Yes it does. There is no artificial timeline on this, it is when the task force is entirely satisfied that the criteria has been met.

“People overlooked the fact we created that opportunity in Rio, it wasn't a blanket ban. We went through 69 athletes who challenged to be involved.

“We went through each and every one of those and one did make it, this time it will be more. It is very important that we follow the very clear concept to separate, where possible, the clean athlete from the tainted system.

“It is really important, when we get the athletes back, that we are in a landscape where we are sure as we can ever be that the playing field is level.”