8th December 2016

Bach cements WADA’s future as leading fight against doping

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach cemented the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) future as leading the fight against doping at a press conference today. He said that WADA would define testing programmes for sport in order to ensure that athletes could line up alongside each other knowing that their competitors had been equally tested.

“This must be run by an international agency”, he said. “This must be run by WADA. Most of the problems are coming from National Anti-Doping Agencies”, he said. Russia is a national problem; Kenya is a national problem; Spain is a national problem; Mexico is a national problem”.

Bach also confirmed that the Oswald Commission appointed by the IOC is “most likely” to undertake further testing of Russian athletes after the final part of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Independent Person (IP) Report is unveiled tomorrow. “On the request of McLaren, we handed over 100 samples which he tested”, said Bach (video below). “Now, it may very well be the case that the Oswald Commission will have to go beyond these 100 samples, because these 100 samples do not comprise all the Russian athletes participating in Sochi”.

Bach recently told delegates at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly that Oswald would be reanalysing all samples taken from Russian athletes at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, where Russia didn’t report any adverse analytical findings (AAF) and took a record number of medals. He said that the samples would not only be reanalysed for doping, but also for “signs of manipulation”.

Bach refused to be drawn on whether Part Two of the WADA IP Report – scheduled to be released tomorrow in London – would result in exclusion of Russian athletes from the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. However, he took the personal view that he would like to see any athletes, coaches or officials who utilised and benefitted from an athlete manipulation system banned from the Olympic Games for life.

“If, for instance, you have an athlete manipulation system and athletes are benefiting from such a system in the Olympic Games, there my consequences would not differ from those taken under my Chair of the Disciplinary Commission concerning Austria at the time of Torino”, he said, referring to the life ban issued to six Austrian skiers in 2007. He said that his personal opinion was as follows: “If an athlete or an official would be part of such a system, I would not like to see that person at any Olympic Games in any function. For me, the logical consequence would be a life ban, or an exclusion from the Olympic Games for life”.

Bach also claimed that the pre-testing programme at the Rio 2016 Games was “very successful”, despite the fact that it appears that an elite athlete at the Games was not tested at all before Rio, as reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative. He said that the IOC’s retesting of samples given at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games had prevented 41 “doped athletes” from participating in Rio.

Yesterday, the IOC decided to extend the ‘provisional measures’ it implemented against Russia, which were due to expire at the end of this year. These include not giving IOC patronage to any event organised in Russia; and freezing of all samples from International Olympic Winter Sports Federations events taking place in Russia. Bach refused to be drawn on when these measures could be lifted, or when the Schmid and Oswald Commissions would complete their work into analysing any revelations from Part Two of the WADA IP Report.

“With regards to the timelines of the Commissions, I cannot tell you because I do not know the content and the scope of the McLaren Report”, he said today. “We will have to wait”.

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