16 November 2016

Bach offers independent anti-doping & more funding for WADA

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has pledged to create an anti-doping system that it independent from sporting organisations, whilst also offering increased funding for a reformed World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Speaking at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly yesterday, Bach said that he wanted an anti-doping system that was “independent from sporting organisations and national interests”.

Bach said that if more investment in anti-doping was needed, then the Olympic movement would be ready to provide it, however warned that “we can not come to a moment when we can say that the fight against doping has been won”. Bach also told the BBC that he has been summoned to speak before the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, which is gathering evidence on whether to launch an investigation into doping in sport. It is understood that the investigation will be conducted along similar lines to that which resulted in the Department of Justice (DoJ) launching an indictment against football officials in May last year, in that it will seek to establish whether US bodies have been defrauded by doping in sport.

Although Bach’s comments appear to support the idea that anti-doping should be independent from sport, earlier this week InsideTheGames reported that the IOC has agreed to a WADA request for an extra US$500,000 in funding, as long as it cooperates with IOC investigations into doping. Professor Richard McLaren has announced that in early December, he expects to release part two of his Independent Person (IP) Report into allegations, made in May by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, that the laboratory at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics was corrupt.

On 24 July, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) extended McLaren’s mandate in order that he could fulfil the third part of his mandate, which was ‘to identify any further athletes that might have benefited from such manipulation to conceal positive doping tests’. McLaren’s terms of reference are available here; analysis of part one of the WADA IP Report is available here; and inconsistencies within that Report are highlighted here.

It is understood that McLaren has refused to share his findings with the IOC ahead of the release of part two of the IP Report, and the IOC is frustrated that its own investigations must wait for his conclusions. Chair of the IOC Ethics Commission, Guy Canivet, is chairing a Commission designed to follow up on any further findings of systemic doping in the final instalment of the IP Report.

The third part of McLaren’s mandate – expected to be addressed in his report – was ‘to identify any further athletes that might have benefited from such manipulation to conceal positive doping tests’. The IOC has appointed a separate committee chaired by Denis Oswald, head of its Disciplinary Commission, to follow up on this aspect of the report.

Bach also told delegates at the 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 a single adverse analytical finding (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”.

On 20 November, WADA’s Foundation Board will hold a meeting in Glasgow, which The Sports Integrity Initiative will attend. The meeting will discuss how anti-doping can be made independent from sport; the upcoming final instalment of the WADA IP Report and WADA’s 2017 budget, amongst other issues.

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