20 Jun MoLogic: Farah’s statement raises more questions than answers

The first step recommended by Freud’s, the top PR firm Mo Farah has engaged with to manage the house of cards tumbling in all around him, appears to be a heartfelt Facebook status to his almost 800,000 followers.

Smart move. The use of social media, and Facebook in particular, where much more can be constructed than a snippet plus picture in 140 characters, is a clever ploy in the quest to combat the dark forces at work at Daily Mail HQ, who look to be asking all the right questions and uncovering yet more.

With an impressive reach mostly to fans away from the sniping bitterness of Twitter, Farah’s post immediately ratcheted up over 50,000 likes and a few thousand shares as people rushed to show their support for the double Olympic champion.

Smooth. But a Facebook status is only one small sidestep removed from the medium much-loved by desperate public figures: the open letter. And whilst we haven’t quite reached that crescendo yet, Mo might want to start sharpening his pencil. For if his coach, Alberto, doesn’t come up with the compelling counter-evidence he’s been promising for over two weeks then Farah will continue to be the fall guy fed to the wolves.

And it’s not as if Farah has said anything new in his statement. Indeed, Farah certainly digs a repetition and his continued anger and bafflement at the allegations towards his coach is puzzling. Maybe Farah’s “anger, frustration and upset” should be directed a little closer to his own camp, which has left him very much hanging out to dry.

With the Nike Oregon Project made aware of the Panorama allegations almost seven weeks ago, the amount of time it’s taking to counter allegations, to say something tangible and to put together their own version of events becomes ever more suspicious and frustrating. A more specific timeframe for the long-awaited evidence than the vague buffer of “soon” would at least help bat away those continued insinuations in the press.

Given the close nature of their athlete-coach relationship, suggestions by association are surely to be expected. When you factor in the two missed tests unsatisfactorily explained away in the year before his double Olympic gold, then what else does Farah expect?

This isn’t ‘non-news two years ago’ either, as Craig Pickering ingenuously pointed out. Athletes may rush to put Farah’s missed tests into context, to pick out flaws in the system and highlight how easy it is to miss a test, but when the coach of the top British athlete of the last decade finds himself embroiled in doping allegations – and it becomes apparent Farah’s management went to great lengths to unsuccessfully challenge and dispel that missed test – then this non-news now obviously becomes something to pick over.

British 800m runner Michael Rimmer made the more salient yet less-publicised points to combat absent-mindedness (and drug cheats) on Twitter: tests, tests and more tests, and extend the three missed tests per year rule to a four year cycle and thus reduce the number of opportunities for athletes to skip a test, accidentally or not. When the point of informing someone of your whereabouts is perhaps one of the few thinking aspects of your job and you forget, not once but twice, then questions are going to be asked – and asked until satisfactory answers are proffered.

Don’t let Farah’s emotive words obscure the fact that his coach – his coach of the last four years – faces serious eye-witness testimonials and allegations relating to his practices. With more revelations of needles and missed tests from his athletes appearing by the day, who knows what else there is to come.

To think that an audience is gullible enough to not put two and two together and ask the questions is naive. The end result may yet equal five – but that’s really the point that Farah is missing. Until the silence is broken by Salazar, the questions are going to keep on coming. As someone so synonymous with Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project, Farah too should not be exempt from the axe that is falling.

  • John Bicourt

    I like most others, want to see Mo Farah, our most successful distance runner ever, to be wholly exonerated and proved to be totally innocent in his association with NOP for any potential finding against his coach. Not just for his own and his family’s sake but more importantly for the sport, especially in Britain, which will otherwise have a devastating effect on the public perception.

    However, his reactions and behaviour has done him no good at all.

    I can’t believe the failure of the people advising Farah, i.e., his agent Ricky Simms, UKA Performance Director, Neil Black, UKA’s CEO, De Vos, and now Matthew Freud PR Agency (at probably £10-15k?) to strongly advise what he really needed to do If he has nothing to hide (and lets accept that he doesn’t)

    The most incredibly stupid thing he did was to run off to Oregon “to get answers” when all he had to do was simply say from the beginning, “nothing to do with me” ….”.I’m staying here to run in Birmingham as planned and whilst I am shocked at the allegations against my coach I have every faith in him being innocent. …….but in my best interest and and for the good of the sport, because I am not in any way implicated, I will stand aside from Alberto and the NOP until this whole matter is fully resolved”

    That is all he should have been advised to do and not what he has done and now hiding from the press and allowing Freud PR, unecessarily and absurdly, to put out out overblown statements on his behalf.

    Even the two missed drug tests have been blown out of all proportion when so many others have innocently (as we must presume?) have done exactly the same……… It happens, and if the authorities thought otherwise, which they haven’t, then he would have faced a ban. So no need to protest innocence so loudly when the authorities have already accepted it as ‘mistakes’ not ‘evasion’ and the media constantly repeat in every report for that and his association with Salazar, “there is no suggestion that Farah has ever taken drugs” ………….but unfortunately for him, his somewhat bizarre behaviour, comments, including engaging a top PR company, begins to suggest something else.

  • Patrick Saunders

    Has anyone presented evidence against Farah? No. Are there any specific allegations against Farah? No.

    ‘Suggestion by association’ isn’t enough. There needs to be something far more concrete before ‘naive’ and ‘gullible’ people like me are convinced to jump on the bandwagon.

    The national newspapers are examining this with a microscope yet all they’ve managed to come up with are two missed tests from years ago. This doesn’t amount to evidence of wrongdoing. I presume that WADA and UKAD are also closely looking at this. So far, nothing. The bottom line is that until there’s good reason to believe otherwise, we are obliged to presume that Farah is innocent.

    The burden of proof is on the accuser who must prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Instead, you seem to start from the default position of guilt and are arguing that Farah is obliged to somehow prove to you that he is innocent. More than that, you’d ideally like trial by media. That simply isn’t the way we should be going about this.