Drugs in sport: IOC unveils clean-up campaign

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE OLYMPIC movement yesterday launched the World Anti-Doping Agency to lead the war against the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport.

Richard Pound, a Montreal lawyer and the International Olympic Committee vice-president, was named as its first chairman. He will oversee the setting- up of the agency, which is expected to begin operating early next year. Pound led the inquiry into the Salt Lake City bribery scandal, which resulted in the expulsion or resignation of 10 IOC members.

The Olympic movement and public authorities will be able to appoint a maximum of 16 people to the agency, which will have a maximum of 35 members and a minimum of 10, the IOC said.

The IOC members Arne Ljungqvist, Jacques Rogge and Prince Alexandre de Merode, who is the head of the IOC's medical commission, were appointed to the board yesterday. In addition to six representatives of athletes, Suvi Linden, Finland's minister of Culture, and Awoture Eleyae, a member of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, are the only representatives outside the Olympic movement named so far.

"The Board will see to it that, when appointing new members, the parity between the public authorities and the Olympic Movement is maintained," an IOC statement said. Members will be appointed for three-year terms, which will be renewable twice.

The board expects to hold its first meeting later this year or at the beginning of 2000, at which time other members will be appointed and the agency's policies will be finalised.

A procedure to find a permanent home for the agency and chief executive will also be put in place and a budget adopted for 2000. The IOC has already committed $25m (pounds 15m) to the WADA.

The WADA is also expected to invite on to its board representatives from national governments that are active in the fight against doping, an inter- governmental organisations such as the International Criminal Police Organisation and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme will also be invited to participate as observers.

It is not yet known if the United States will participate in the new agency. Barry McCaffrey, the head of the White House drugs policy office, was highly critical of the IOC plan. He called instead for a more independent drug-testing agency to fight the use of performance-enhancing drugs.