19th September 2017

Independent Testing Authority to be operational by Pyeongchang 2018

International federations (IFs) and major event organisers will be able to delegate anti-doping tests to an Independent Testing Authority (ITA) in time for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in February next year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Lima. WADA told the IOC that the ITA would be established with ‘full independence, constituted through a new Swiss Foundation’.

However, as previously reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative, concerns remain about the ITA’s true independence from the IOC and WADA. The WADA recommendation to the IOC Session mentions that the IOC is the founding body of the ITA and would be responsible for its initial funding. It proposes that the ITA Board should comprise five members:

1. A Chairperson (independent/neutral);
2. An IOC representative;
3. An IF representative;
4. An athlete;
5. An expert (independent/neutral).

WADA says that the sport movement would propose the five members to a three-person selection committee appointed by WADA. It adds that the two ‘independent/neutral’ positions ‘could also be suggested by anyone from sport, government, WADA or the wider anti-doping community’. Once approved by the WADA-appointed selection committee, the five members would then be ‘presented to the WADA Executive Committee for ratification’.

The document argues that WADA’s overseeing of the appointment of officials to the ITA would allow the body to benefit from WADA’s expertise. ‘The Steering Group acknowledged that WADA cannot be responsible for or directly involved in the ITA, given its position as the global anti-doping compliance regulator’, it reads. ‘The above recommendation on structure/composition provide for that separation while also allowing the ITA Board to access and benefit from WADA expertise’.

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