DOPING issues have gone viral this month, with the latest allegations by the Times implicating Russian and Chinese swimming. The World Anti Doping Agency, fighting fires on an increasing number of fronts, is investigating the evidence. Its Scottish president, Sir Craig Reedie, says WADA is: "under no illusions about the challenges facing sport’s integrity," and acknowledges clean athletes are "justifiably concerned that their rights are being eroded through the minority that choose to dope".

He says that the English paper's information and evidence will be reviewed before taking an informed decision on what form of inquiry is needed and who will conduct it.

We would hope to see similar forensic evaluation to that which WADA applied in its treatment of the Russian athletics doping saga. The broadsheet's expose on the back on an exclusive by German TV, ARD, won plaudits. Yet it is disturbing, even to a hack like myself after more than 49 years in sport journalism, to discover just how the award-winning Sunday Times Insight team failed humiliatingly with an attempted sting while acting as an agent provocateur in attempting to collect evidence of doping.

Two of their number, David Collins and George Arbuthnott, used false names when they approached a Swedish international athlete, Mustafa Mohamed. They door-stepped the country's steeplechase record-holder at the hotel where he was staying in Portugal. Posing as a coach and backer, they attempted to enlist Mohamed to recruit athletes for a running camp in Kenya. They said 15-20% of the camp profit would go to the company and that a doctor would be arranged to provide doping products. Mohamed immediately said he was not interested, that he had never doped, and would never get involved in anything of that nature. He declined their offer to sleep on it. He told them he ran "for passion, not for money or fame".

He surreptitiously took photographs of the pair, waited until they checked out, and then confirmed the journalists' real names with hotel reception. Then he phoned his coach. Reports were made to the Swedish Sports doping commission, IAAF, and WADA.

The journalists' tactics seem drawn from the "how-to" handbook of the notorious "Fake Sheikh" journalist, Mazher Mahmood, who was discredited in a Panorama expose. The paper last night was offered the chance to respond but said they did not comment on its "public interest investigations".

They are surely aware that all the detail is already in the public domain, published on the Swedish website Spanaren (Scout) which carried a picture of the flame-haired Arbuthnott, snatched with photo-journalistic flair by Mohamed, his byline credited.

The shoddy, shabby affair was reported by internationally respected Swedish sports writer Cege Berglund, who confirmed the detail yesterday. "It was very surprising to me that they operated like that," he said.

Why, one wonders, would an English newspaper put such resources into trying to frame a little-known Swedish endurance runner?

Mohamed is aiming for the Olympics in Rio this summer, but he is no superstar.

Cege offers an answer: "Guilt by association, as you say."

Exactly. Mohamed and Britain's Mo Farah are friends. They were both born in Mogadishu. Farah came to Britain aged eight, Mohamed arrived in Sweden aged 11. As Cege says, "Farah is big game for doping hunters."

And if Mustafa Mohamed had been a man of lesser integrity and intelligence, who knows where Farah would be now? Probably not running today in Cardiff at the World Half Marathon Championships. He'd have been smeared by the coincidence of coming from the same country, and being a friend of a man smeared by the press as a doper. Fighting once more for his reputation based on myth and innuendo spun by journalists.

Yes, the sound this month of cheats falling, has been welcome. People caught by forensic tests and formal procedures.

It was good to see the Court of Arbitration for Sport this week uphold appeals by the International Association of Athletics Federations against six Russian athletes (Olga Kaniskina, Yuliya Zaripova, who won 3000m steeplechase gold at London 2012, Sergey Bakulin, Valeriy Borchin, Vladimir Kanaykin and Sergey Kirdyapkin, who won the gold medal in the 50 km walk in 2012). The World body had charged them with offences on discovering abnormalities in the profile of their Athlete Biological Passports.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), currently battling to preserve Olympic status, increased the suspension on the athletes, but too selectively for the IAAF's liking. CAS agreed, and the global body says it is now proceeding with disqualification of results, amending rankings, and reallocating medals. They have informed the International Olympic Committee, requesting the disqualification of results and reallocation of medals because they cannot interfere in Olympic results.

Wolverhampton boxer Jez Wilson was banned this week for two years, while last week Thomas Price, of the Bristol rugby club, Whitehall, was banned for four years. The former champion strongman refused to provide a urine sample in what appeared to be an intelligence-led UK Anti Doping initiative. Of 60 British sportsmen currently under sanctions, rugby is a serial offender with 34 defaulters, 14 of them in league. In the past five months 10 players from union and league have been banned.

Last week, Dr George Skafidas, formerly a UK Athletics licensed coach, was given a lifetime ban after admitting to nine charges including trafficking and administration of banned substances to Bernice Wilson, a sprinter with whom he was in a relationship. Wilson, effectively a victim, had a 40-month suspension slashed to 10 months, for her co-operation.

Reedie, this month, appealed for more funding for WADA, and the organisation removed five anti-doping organisations from their "watch list" but Spain and Mexico have failed to resolved their issues, and have been declared non-compliant, while Olympic hosts Brazil must have their Parliament endorse a presidential decree inside four months.

Russia, Andorra, and Bolivia remain non-compliant. There are huge question marks over Kenya, and Reedie adds that "the public’s confidence in sport was shattered in 2015 like never before.”

WADA will need to be certain that dubious journalistic work – despite award-winning reputations – does not cloud the waters. If faith is to be restored, then it will be by honesty, transparency, and integrity. Not discredited sharp practice and attempted entrapment.