The International Association of Athletics Federations says it will not rule out “any follow-up action necessary” over a Sunday Times report alleging widespread doping in the sport.
The newspaper, and German broadcaster ARD/WDR, obtained leaked data relating to 12,000 blood tests conducted on more than 5,000 athletes.
Experts enlisted by the Sunday Times claimed the data showed that more than a third of medals - including 55 golds – awarded at Olympic Games and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes with suspicious tests.
It was further alleged that none of those medals had been taken away by the authorities.
The IAAF appeared angered that the data had been published at all and said it would now be contacting both media outlets for more information.
“The IAAF is aware of serious allegations made against the integrity and competence of its anti-doping programme,” a statement from the organisation read.
“The relevant allegations were broadcast in Germany yesterday and have been repeated in an article in the Sunday Times newspaper today.
“They are largely based on analysis of an IAAF Data Base of private and confidential medical data which has been obtained without consent. The IAAF is now preparing a detailed response to both media outlets and will reserve the right to take any follow up action necessary to protect the rights of the IAAF and its athletes.”