EU officials back U.S. plan for doping agency

European Union officials have joined the United States in giving a cool response to the International Olympic Committee's plan for a world anti-doping agency, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

European Union officials have joined the United States in giving a cool response to the International Olympic Committee's plan for a world anti-doping agency, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

Barry McCaffrey, head of the White House drug policy office, said that during his trip to Europe this week EU and national leaders had given their blessing to alternative U.S. proposals for an international agreement on tackling performance-enhancing drugs.

"What we have is, I believe, a growing consensus among the nations - the Australians, the Brits, the French, the Germans, the EU in general - that there are certain principles that ought to guide the final solution," McCaffrey told The Associated Press.

Those principles include a broad international consultation process on the proposed agency which must be independent of any other world body, according to McCaffrey.

McCaffrey accused the IOC of attempting to push through its own project for an anti-doping agency without consultation.

"I don't understand what the IOC is doing. ... Normally we do things by consultation, by consensus, by common sense," McCaffrey said. "I don't understand what the...apparent arrogance of the approach is."

The IOC plans to set up the agency as a Swiss foundation on Nov. 10 with the appointment of a board of directors. The IOC says the agency will be up and running by the end of the year.

But McCaffrey said the planned agency would not be independent, would not publish test results, and its anti-doping code would be only advisory in nature.

He said the U.S. proposal includes the establishment of an independent and accountable agency which would conduct tests on a year-round, no-notice basis.

"We've got to move in this direction," McCaffrey said, noting that the U.S. Olympic Committee had agreed to the setting-up of an independent drug-testing agency for American athletes.

McCaffrey believes next month's Australian Sports Summit, where 26 nations will discuss doping in sports, would be the ideal place to establish common ground on the doping agency.

McCaffrey was visiting the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction as part of his six-day trip to four European countries to discuss drug-control policy.

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