London - The IAAF should have been "more alert" during events that eventually saw world athletics' governing body suspend Russia over state-sponsored doping, according to Sebastian Coe.
Coe, writing in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, was elected president of the IAAF in August after spending eight years as deputy to Lamine Diack, who is being investigated by French police on suspicion of having taken more than one million euros in payments to cover up positive drugs tests.
Citing the Edmund Burke quote which says 'It is necessary only for good men to do nothing for evil to triumph', Coe wrote in the Telegraph: "It is an observation that stabs between the ribs, and something that I have thought about restlessly and incessantly over the past awful week for athletics.
"The best way to protect clean athletes is to be unflinching in our commitment to them and not just in words.
"We have to create structures that are always in their corner and here none of us come out very well, including my federation. The architecture of anti-doping has failed them."
In August, Coe had referred to claims about suspicious blood profiles involving some athletes as "a declaration of war on my sport".
But in his column, he recognised the role of a German television documentary in leading to the three investigations which exposed Russia's wrongdoing.
"Could I, should I have inserted myself into the three independent investigations?" Coe asked. "Possibly. Should we all have been more alert and in tune with our natural instincts? Almost certainly.
"That is probably the toughest truth to face, but the sport must if we are to start our recovery. And the search for the answer will be my North Star."
The IAAF Council suspended Russia on Friday following the publication of a damning report by an independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on mass doping in Russian athletics.
Although the suspension is provisional, without a time limit and with immediate effect, eight months ahead of the 2016 Olympics questions remain whether a Russian team will be on the road to Rio.
The length of Russia's exile depends on the country implementing adequate anti-doping measures, and can only be lifted by a new vote of the IAAF council whose next meeting is scheduled for Monaco on November 26-27.
In the worst case scenario the Russian athletics federation (ARAF) have four months to propose solutions before going before the council again.