IOC establishes world anti-doping agency

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The Independent Online

The International Olympic Committee established a world anti-doping agency today and said it hopes the United States, a leading critic of the project, will agree to take part.

The International Olympic Committee established a world anti-doping agency today and said it hopes the United States, a leading critic of the project, will agree to take part.

The agency, based provisionally in the IOC's home city of Lausanne, Switzerland, will coordinate global efforts to fight the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs in sport.

The IOC nominated its first vice president, Dick Pound of Canada, to serve as chairman of the agency.

The new body, set up as a foundation under Swiss law, will be known as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Its tasks include: establishing a single list of banned substances, coordinating unannounced out-of-competition drug testing, developing common standards for collecting and analyzing samples, pushing for harmonized doping sanctions, and promoting research into new tests.

The IOC said the agency will be governed by a board composed of at least 10 members and no more than 35.

The Olympic movement and public authorities will each be able to appoint a maximum of 16 members. Others can be appointed by a consensus of the board, while maintaining an equal representation of both sides.

"Everybody has a stake in making it work," Pound said. "As far as I can tell, it's the first time you're going to have all the players on the same table at the same time with the same objective."

Members will be appointed to three-year terms, with the possibility of two additional terms.

Twelve members have been appointed so far.

The four IOC representatives are: Pound; Arne Ljungqvist of Sweden, who is also chairman of the medical commision of the International Amateur Athletic Federation; Prince Alexandre de Merode, longtime head of the IOC medical commision; and Jacques Rogge, an IOC executive board member and vice chairman of the medical panel.

Representing international sports federations: Hein Verbruggen, president of the International Cyling Union, and Anders Besseberg, president of the International Biathlon Union.

Members of the IOC athletes' commission: former US Olympic volleyball player Robert Ctvrtlik; former Italian cross country ski star Manuela Di Centa; Norwegian speed skating great Johann Olav Koss; and commission chairman Peter Tallberg of Finland.

Public authorities are represented by Suvi Linden, Finland's culture minister; and Awoture Eleyae, secretary general of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa.

The IOC said the agency is expected to invite representatives of national governments, including Australia and the United States, to serve on the board.

One of the most outspoken critics of the IOC project has been Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House drug policy office.

On Wednesday, he offered a guarded welcome to the creation of the anti-doping agency as a "starting point." He made clear he does not think the agency will be sufficiently independent of the IOC under its current structure.

"I thank the IOC for opening this discussion now in the short run to the upcoming two Olympic Games," McCaffrey told reporters in Washington. "But in the long run we've got to do better."

"The United States continues to view the current framework for the WADA as inadequate to protect the world's clean athletes," he said.

McCaffrey will head a US delegation at the 26-nation International Drugs in Sport Summit next week in Sydney, Australia. He said the summit can produce "the requisite improvements needed for a fully effective and independent WADA."

Pound said: "I hope the United States comes on board. It's a very important country, a country in which there is a considerable concern about doping. I think we have addressed all the concerns about independence and transparency thtrol the agency.

"I don't understand how you could come to any other conclusion," he said. "The IOC is going to have only a 12.5 percent share."

Pound said it's "unfair and unreasonable" to demand that the IOC have no role in the agency.

"The IOC has initiated or been part of every single action against doping in sport for the last 30 years," he said. "To say we should be excluded, there is no basis for it."

The agency plans were endorsed by Vivien Reding, the European Union's sports commissioner.

"I believe the Americans will join when they see that really the agency is working in a balanced and transparent way," she said in Brussels. "It will be a partnership."

McCaffrey and other critics say the agency should not be based in Lausanne. A number of other European cities have expressed interest in serving as the agency's headquarters. The IOC says it plans to have a bidding process to select a permanent seat.

Pound said he expects the agency's first meeting will take place next month around the time of the Dec. 11-12 session in Lausanne. The formal appointment of a chairman will be made then. No other candidates have been announced.

The board is expected to appoint a full-time director, or chief executive, to run the day-to-day operations of the agency. Pound said he believes this post should be held by a scientist.

The IOC has contributed $25 million to get the agency started but expects governments and other parties to pay their share eventually.

"We'll be carrying the freight ourselves for the first couple of years," Pound said. "After that, you have to pay the same price for a place at the same table."