IAAF President Sebastian Coe indicated that it will take time to rid athletics of its poor image following the plethora of doping violations.
Coe was speaking ahead of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s report into claims of cover-up and money laundering, which is to be released on Monday.
"These are dark days for our sport," the former athlete told BBC Sport.
"The day after I got elected, I started a massive review. Understandably, in the light of the allegations that have been made, that review has been accelerated.
"I'm more determined than ever to rebuild the trust in our sport. However, this is a long road to redemption.
"We need a generation of coaches and athletes to believe that it is possible to reach the pinnacle of sport with integrity and as clean athletes.
"We will continue to lead the fight against drugs in sport on behalf of clean athletes that those who cheat will be caught and those who are caught will be thoroughly investigated and the guilty will face the fullest sanctions available.
"We have to make sure clean athletes know that we are in their corner and I will do everything I possibly can to make sure we rebuild trust in this sport.
"My task is to build a sport that will be accountable, responsible and responsive, but it will take time."
Coe added that while it is his goal to clean up the image of athletics by ridding the sport of doping, there will always be some athletes who use illegal substances.
"The practicality is there will always be a few people who try to step beyond the moral boundaries," he added.
"It is our responsibility to make sure right systems are in place and the right people to uphold these systems."