News 11th December 2015

IOC proposes major shake up of drug testing & sport financing

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced proposals for a major shake up to anti-doping and the way in which it allocates money to sporting organisations at its Executive Board meeting in Lausanne yesterday. The IOC wants to take responsibility for anti-doping away from sport and hand it to an independent body, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) responsible for sanctioning. It also plans to carry out independent audits to ensure international federations are correctly spending money allocated to them.

The IOC recommended that sports organisations should transfer their doping control operations to an ‘independent testing and results management agency’, which should be led by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The independent agency would be funded by the sports organisations, who would make the money currently allocated towards anti-doping available to this new organisation. ‘Governments, which are 50 per cent partners of WADA, should support this reform alongside the sports movement, both logistically and financially’, read an IOC statement. ‘Sanctions should be pronounced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In such a way also, the system of sanctions would be centralised, be cost-efficient and lead to harmonisation among all sports and all countries.’

The new independent organisation would also contain a ‘professional intelligence gathering unit’, which would ‘addresses issues that may affect the compliance of anti-doping organisations 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 as to protect the clean athletes worldwide to the same level.’

WADA agreed to set up a Working Group to explore the concept at its Foundation Board meeting in November, after the IOC first suggested the idea at its Olympic Summit in October. The Executive Board’s proposals will now be put to the WADA Working Group, which will report back on the feasibility of the proposal ahead of the next WADA Foundation Board meeting in May 2016.

The IOC also plans to initiate an ‘independent audit system of its major subventions to IFs, NOCs and Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) with regard to the financial as well as the good governance aspects’, continued the statement. ‘The IOC, recognising the independence and autonomy of the IFs, appreciates their support for this initiative as expressed in the IOC EB meeting and by setting up a working group on sports governance by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF)’. The IOC has also appointed that International Institute for Management Development to undertake research into good governance at the IOC itself.

The IOC also expressed confidence that Brazil would be able to stage the Rio 2106 Olympic Games, despite being informed by the organising committee that budget cuts are being implicated, and the potential of impeachment proceedings against the country’s President. The Rio organising committee is attempting to cut BRL2 billion (€475 million) from the operating budget of BRL7.4 billion (€1.8 billion), reports The Guardian.

Speaking via a video conference link, Rio’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes, assured the IOC Executive Committee that the Brazilian public still supports the Games despite these issues. At a press conference following the meeting, the IOC said that it was not its role to investigate allegations of corruption regarding the construction contracts around the Games, emphasising that Brazil’s police are examining these issues.

However, the IOC has formed a joint working group with the local organising committee (OC) for the Olympic Games, and said it was “ready to adapt” the budget of the OC to meet the challenges Brazil faces. “Spectators and athletes will not be affected”, emphasised IOC President Thomas Bach (pictured).

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