Pound to head new anti-doping agency

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The Independent Online

The International Olympic Committee vice-president, Richard Pound, has been appointed head of the new international anti-doping agency.

The International Olympic Committee vice-president, Richard Pound, has been appointed head of the new international anti-doping agency.

The unnamed drug-testing watchdog is due to start its work on Wednesday, but Pound said it unlikely that much will be done before the IOC board meeting 10-11 December in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"I'm prepared to do it for a year or so to get it up and running," Pound, a lawyer from Montreal, said during a break at the Canadian Olympic Association board meeting.

"It is important and goes with the territory of being a first vice-president of the International Olympic Committee."

Pound said it was a good idea to have a "lay person" like himself head the agency rather than a scientific expert because he will face fewer rivalries.

"My knowledge of this field is very limited but what I would bring is the ability to get it organized and started and to adopt the policies that we need to adopt," he said.

Pound, who has often been mentioned as a possible successor to president Juan Antonio Samaranch, negotiates the lucrative television contracts for the IOC and last year headed up its inquiry into the Salt Lake City bribery scandal.

Pound says the IOC's contribution of $25 million to the new agency indicates how serious the organization is about cleaning up amateur sports.

And Pound believes international governing bodies will be anxious to join in.

"For the first time governments have stepped up and said they want to be a part of the solution," he said. "You do need the combination of legislation and sport regulation to do all this."

But Pound admits research is desperately needed because drug users always seem to be one step ahead of testing methods.

"We're way behind on some of the science things and we need some serious research," Pound said. "... You can't disqualify someone from an Olympic gold medal unless you are virtually certain (they are cheating). Research will be big."

And so will be involving athletes in the new agency.

"My impression is the overwhelming majority of athletes don't want to cheat and would prefer not to," he said. "It's just that ... they don't have any confidence that the suits have put together a system that will protect their rights and level the playing field."

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