Athletics' governing body the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) has begun an investigation into allegations that the coach and agent for 100 meter world champion, Justin Gatlin, offered to supply performance-enhancing drugs to undercover reporters.
British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday that members of Gatlin's team -- coach Dennis Mitchell and athletics agent Robert Wagner -- offered to "illicitly supply performance-enhancing drugs" to its undercover reporters.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe calls the allegations "extremely serious."
US sprinter Gatlin, 35, who became the 100m World Champion in August, beating three-time 100m Olympic champion Usain Bolt, said on Instagram that he was "shocked and surprised" by the allegations and has fired Mitchell, who won the 1992 Olympic 100m bronze medal.
CNN has yet to receive a response from either Mitchell or Wagner, but both have denied the allegations to the Telegraph.
The Telegraph reported that its journalists had visited Gatlin's Florida training camp posing as representatives of a film company wanting to make a film about athletics and were looking for people to train the star of the film.
The paper said that Mitchell and Wagner offered to provide and administer testosterone and human growth hormone to an actor in training for a film about athletics. The banned performance-enhancing drugs were to be supplied by a doctor in Austria for a fee of about $250,000, according to the paper.
Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, wrote on Instagram: "I am not using and have not used PEDs [performance enhancing drugs]. I was shocked and surprised to learn that my coach would have anything to do with even the appearance of these current accusations.
"I fired him as soon as I found out about this.
"All legal options are on the table as I will not allow others to lie about me like this. I have no further comments as it is now a legal matter. They will next hear from my lawyers."
Set up by athletics' world governing body the IAAF, the Independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has the sole responsibility for all ethics and anti-doping matters in the sport.
In a statement, the IAAF president, Coe told CNN: "These allegations are extremely serious and I know the independent Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) will investigate in accordance with its mandate.
"Under the IAAF Rules, all athlete support personnel -- agents, coaches etc -- are bound by both the IAAF anti-doping code and IAAF integrity code of conduct. The AIU has investigative powers and the independent Disciplinary Tribunal has sanction powers for those found in breach of these."
The AIU told CNN in a statement that it would investigate in cooperation with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and hoped that the Daily Telegraph "will provide information to assist."
The statement added: "The use of new methodologies and designer drugs has always been a challenge for the anti-doping movement and this continues to this day.
"In this era, we understand that we cannot rely on testing alone to defend the sport against doping and so the AIU is both building its investigations and intelligence capability and implementing an intelligence based re-testing policy to meet such challenges."
Justlin Gatlin is the 100m world champion
American has twice been banned for doping
British newspaper claims team members are involved in doping scandal