By Toby Davis
LONDON (Reuters) - IAAF president Sebastian Coe has denied knowing of "bribes being offered or received" in the awarding of the 2017 world athletics championships, a spokesman for the crisis-hit governing body said on Thursday.
Earlier this month, UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner said he had been told by IAAF officials that representatives of the Qatar bid had been giving "brown envelopes" to members of the IAAF Council, which decided on the hosts.
Warner appeared before a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday but declined to identify who had told him about the alleged bribes, saying it would be inappropriate to do so before speaking to the IAAF's ethics commission.
On Thursday, Britain's Daily Mail reported that two witnesses linked to the London 2017 bid team had told the paper that ahead of the vote in Monaco in November 2011 they heard Coe warn UK Athletics officials of rumors of corruption by the Doha bid, which was immediately denied by an IAAF spokesman.
"Sebastian Coe had no actual knowledge of bribes being offered or received linked to the 2017 World Championship," the spokesman told Reuters.
"As he and Ed Warner discussed on (BBC Radio's) 5 Live Sportsweek there was rumor piled upon rumor in the days leading up to the bid as is often the case on these occasions," the spokesman added.
The 2017 world championships were awarded to London, and Doha were handed the 2019 event.
Qatar has denied any wrongdoing in its bids for either championship and an IAAF spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that, at the request of the Qatari federation, Coe had referred the 2017 bidding process to the ethics commission, currently being rebranded as the ethics board.
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ken Ferris)