The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board released a 12-part statement aiming to strengthen anti-doping efforts, among them, creating an independent authority to oversee drug testing.
The first 5 principles in the report focus on strengthening WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency. Several principles call for WADA to be independent from both sporting organizations and from national governments, in order to prevent WADA from undue outside influence. The report also called for more athlete roles within WADA’s system.
The second part of the report is where the IOC calls for the creation of an “Independent Testing Authority.” That ITA would work with each individual sporting federation (say, FINA for aquatics or FIVB for volleyball) to create testing distribution plans for each individual sport and discipline within each sport. Part of that program would include minimum numbers of tests that athletes would need to undergo before being eligible for World Championships or Olympic Games.
The full IOC press release is below:
Declaration of the IOC Executive Board
12 principles for a more robust and independent global Anti-Doping System to protect clean athletes
Already in October 2015, the Olympic Summit proposed an independent anti-doping testing and sanctioning system. In particular, after the publication of the interim report of Prof. McLaren in July 2016, a broad public debate started about the future of the WADA Anti-Doping System. Having followed closely and participated in this debate, the IOC Executive Board today emphasises the Olympic Movement perspective of a more robust and independent anti-doping system. The IOC would like to implement the following principles in a dialogue and close cooperation with WADA and its stakeholders:
- The World Anti-Doping Agency must be equally independent from both sports organisations and from national interests. This is necessary because even the perception of a conflict of interests can be considered damaging to the credibility of the anti-doping system. With regard to national interests, this is particularly important because of the recent challenges to the system from certain National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs), from disputes between different NADOs, and from appeals by International Federations (IF) against decisions of National Anti-Doping Institutions.
- Since the sports organisations and the governments are both founding stakeholders on an equal basis, they must be represented equally on the WADA Foundation Board and Executive Committee. The role of athletes on the Foundation Board and Executive Committee must be strengthened. The representation of athletes must be by elected (not appointed as now) athlete representatives. The WADA boards should also include independent members.
- WADA to have a neutral President and Vice-President who have no function in any government or governmental organisation or in any sports organisation. The candidates to be agreed upon by both founding stakeholders, i.e. the governments and the sports organisations, including the elected representatives of athletes. This was already proposed by the Olympic Movement in October 2016.
- The role of WADA to be strengthened and clarified to be the sole international body responsible for:
- Legislation with regard to the World Anti-Doping Code including the list of prohibited substances and standardisation of anti-doping procedures
- Accreditation of anti-doping laboratories
- Compliance monitoring including investigation of all code signatories
- Anti-doping research
- The IOC supports WADA’s intention to have a compliance policy which drives towards Code compliance of all signatories of the World Anti-Doping Code. This would ensure a level playing field for all the athletes of the world.
Creation of an Independent Testing Authority
- An Independent Testing Authority (ITA) to be created.
- The ITA to develop with each respective International Federation an International Test Distribution Plan (ITDP) not only by sport but by discipline. This ITDP to contain a minimum number of tests for every athlete wanting to participate in the World Championships or in the Olympic Games. This number to be transparent for each athlete in a discipline of a sport. Athletes not having the established minimum testing level not to be eligible for World Championships and Olympic Games.
- The NADOs to execute these international tests on request by the ITA.
- The NADOs to continue and, where appropriate, to strengthen all their other testing activities and WADA to ensure that NADOs’ Test Distribution Plans are implemented independently from national interests.
- The ITA board to be restricted to a supervisory role only. The ITA board to have no power to direct or instruct the management of the anti-doping programme.
- The ITA board to include representatives from public authorities, the Olympic Movement and WADA as well as elected athlete representatives.
- Sanctioning with regard to individuals (athletes, officials, coaches, doctors, etc.) following a case established by the ITA, or sanctioning of a Code signatory (sports organisations, event organisers, NADOs and laboratories) following a declaration of non-compliance by WADA, both to be determined by the independent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), following the democratic principle of the ‘separation of powers’.
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