IOC establishes world anti-doping agency

The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday formally established a world anti-doping agency to coordinate the fight against banned performance-enhancing drugs in sport.

The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday formally established a world anti-doping agency to coordinate the fight against banned performance-enhancing drugs in sport.

IOC vice president Dick Pound of Canada was nominated to head the agency, which will be based provisionally in Lausanne.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will establish a single list of banned substances, coordinate unannounced out-of-competition drug testing, develop common standards for sample collection and testing procedures, push for harmonized rules and sanctions, and promote research into new tests.

The IOC said the agency, set up as a foundation under Swiss law, 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.

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

Twelve members have been appointed so far.

The 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 will invite representatives of national governments, including Australia and the United States, to serve on the board.

The agency has also invited non-governmental organizations to participate as observers, including Interpol, the World Health Organization and the UN international drug control program.

The board will hold its first meeting later this year or early in 2000. Initial tasks will be to appoint other members, review the agency's mission and policy, develop a procedure to select a permanent location and chief executive, and adopt a budget for 2000.

The IOC project has come under fire from certain quarters, especially from Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House drug policy office.

McCaffrey has repeatedly said the IOC plan is unacceptable because it lacks independence, transparency and accountability.

McCaffrey insists on an agency that is wholly independent of the IOC.

The IOC has said it has no intention of controlling the agency and the body will have equal representation from all stakeholders.

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