POSTED: November 20th 2015

Olympics: Bach ramps up the fight for clean sport proposing new IOC intelligence testing unit

Thomas Bach taking a tougher stance on anti-doping / SFC
Thomas Bach taking a tougher stance on anti-doping / SFC

LAURA WALDEN at the INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL in PRAGUE / Sports Features Communications 

(SFC) The opening of the 44th European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly in Prague was an opportune venue for International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach to drive home his latest idea to fund an intelligence testing unit that would reinforce the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It would be a truly independent drug testing body and Bach's plan is to get it established prior to next summer's Rio 2016 Olympics.

The proposal was launched last month at the Olympic Summit in Lausanne and would also include the Court of Arbitration (CAS) to decide sanctions beefing up the entire anti-doping process in order to level the playing field.

The WADA Independent Commission report that was made public earlier this month was an eye opener as to their findings accusing Russia of state-support doping. This consequently led to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspending the Russian athletics federation raising a number of questions.

Bach proclaimed, "We are happy that the unanimously agreed initiative of the Olympic Summit of last October has been taken up by WADA, to make the anti-doping system more independent of sports organizations.

The IOC President explained further that he wanted to table three proposals for further discussion for the WADA working group. "One, a testing and results management organization within WADA should be set up independent from the monitoring and regulatory functions of WADA. Sports organizations would transfer their anti-doping systems to this organization and make the funding available initially at the level of their present investment in the fight against doping. 

"This organization should also coordinate the work of the National Anti-Doping Agencies to ensure a streamlined, efficient and worldwide harmonized anti-doping system. Governments - who are 50 per cent shareholders of WADA - should support this organization alongside the sports movement, both logistically and financially," he said.

"Two, within this new organization a professional intelligence gathering unit should be established. This would allow WADA to be proactive. The unit could address issues with regard to the compliance of National Anti-Doping Agencies and anti-doping laboratories accredited by WADA, at the earliest possible stage. This would help to make all such institutions compliant at all times and in such a way protect the clean athletes worldwide to the same level." 

And finally he added, "Third, sanctions should be pronounced only by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In such a way also the system of sanctions would be centralized, be cost efficient and lead to harmonization among all sports and among all countries.

"The current right to appeal such sanctions to a different chamber of CAS would be fully upheld and guaranteed. We are convinced that the adoption of these proposals would lead to a more efficient more transparent more streamlined more cost efficient more harmonized anti-doping system. It would better protect the clean athletes and enhance the credibility of sports. The IOC is independent of these discussions within WADA is already taking the first measures in this direction.

"WADA will lead intelligence gathering funded by the IOC to make testing in the lead up to the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro as efficient and independent as possible. Out-of-competition testing during the Olympic Games will also be guided by this intelligence group from WADA to make it more targeted and effective.

"As in previous Olympic Games, WADA observers will also supervise all aspects of the doping control program at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro." 

Bach underlined at the end of his speech, "We are not just talking the talk, we are walking the walk." 

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · EOC · Olympics · Thomas Bach · IOC

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