McCaffrey: White House want to work with IOC to fight drugs

US sports administrators want to work with the International Olympic Committee to stamp out doping in all levels of sport, the White House's chief drug fighter said today.

US sports administrators want to work with the International Olympic Committee to stamp out doping in all levels of sport, the White House's chief drug fighter said today.

Gen. Barry R McCaffrey was speaking ahead of an international conference that brings together representatives from 26 governments to discuss new initiatives in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs.

"This is not just a problem of world class weightlifting. This is a problem of high school football and high school diving competitions and we think it is something we have to face up to," McCaffrey told reporters at a press conference at the Sydney Olympics aquatic center.

The conference starts on Monday, just days after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally established the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which will initially be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the IOC.

McCaffrey has been a harsh critic of the WADA and repeated his concerns that it cannot be effective unless it is guaranteed independence from the IOC. He said Sunday there was a "fundamental conflict on interest" in the IOC running the WADA and organizing the Olympic games.

He said the conference would tackle the question: "How do we move forward with a worldwide anti-doping agency that satisfies everyone?"

McCaffrey is pushing a six-point US plan at the conference which he believes will help establish an effective anti-doping agency.

The principles, outlined in a document sent by McCaffrey to IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch are:

The WADA must be independent, accountable and effective.

Athletes must be vulnerable to no-notice testing 365 days a year.

The should be no statute of limitations for doping offenses.

Samples should be preserved.

Scientific research should be advanced.

An ethic of clean competition should be promoted.

McCaffrey said he hoped to meet Samaranch - who is not attending the conference - soon to discuss the principles, which he said have been met "with a pretty surprising degree of unanimity worldwide."

The White House drug czar shrugged off a diplomatic row that erupted after Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates tried to have McCaffrey banned from holding the press conference at the Olympic venue.

McCaffrey deflected Australian media questions about the row by saying he and Coates were pulling in the same direction on anti-doping issues.

Delegates from around the world will discuss the role governments can play in the fight against doping, covering topics including international collaboration, developing effective testing regimes, combatting the illegal trafficking in performance-enhancing drugs and educating young sportspeople about the danger of doping.

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