The IAAF must undertake a complete review and make changes to its governance to eliminate corruption within its ranks, according to the head of European Athletics.

The track and field governing body has been mired in scandal this year, culminating in last week's French investigation into alleged bribes paid to its former president Lamine Diack to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes.

The scandal was compounded by yesterday's release of a World Anti-Doping Agency report chronicling "state-sponsored doping" in Russia, which also accuses the IAAF of "systemic failures" in tackling the problem.

European Athletics chief Svein Arne Hansen said: "For us, the highest priorities now are a complete review and any necessary changes to the governance of the IAAF with the aim of eliminating future possibilities for corruption."

Hansen added "support for necessary changes to the organisation of the sport and anti-doping systems at the national level with the aim of strengthening the fight against doping" is also a priority.

Hansen, who was deeply critical of the IAAF process by which Eugene, Oregon was chosen as the hosts of the 2021 world championships, said he supported IAAF president Sebastian Coe who is under intense pressure to provisionally ban Russian athletes from competing at next year's Rio Olympics.

"(We) give our full backing and support to the IAAF President Sebastian Coe in his efforts to lead the sport through the difficult and complicated process ahead," he said.

"We are aware that it will take time and there will be many challenges, but we have full confidence in President Coe's leadership.

"This is a dark and sad time for athletics. Although such problems are not unique to our sport or organisations, what we are learning from various sources and what is likely to emerge in the future are extremely disappointing and against all the values and ideals we hold."

Swede Hansen, however, said the gravity of the situation could provide a turning point for a sport struggling to retain its credibility since German broadcaster ARD and the Sunday Times earlier this year alleged that a third of endurance medals at the Olympics and world championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who had recorded suspicious doping tests.

"We are heartened by the thought that once we know all the facts we will have a unique opportunity to take appropriate action, implement necessary reforms and start to rebuild the credibility of our sport," he said.