Doping showdown comes to crunch at WADA summit

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LAUSANNE: Sports leaders are at loggerheads over how to fight the war against performance-enhancing drugs as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) goes into a key reform summit this weekend.

Who should control the global doping watchdog? What powers should it have? Who should pay? Welters of questions have been raised as the Olympic movement and sports federations seek to redeem their names after the Russia doping scandal.

The WADA Foundation will have to come up with at least the start of some solid answers after its meeting in Glasgow on Sunday. A new report on Russia is due out within weeks, which could heighten pressure to clean up sport.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach last month called on WADA to set up a new independent unit to manage testing around the world. He promised more money if the reforms are carried out.


The IOC blames sports federations for letting cheating flourish and wants to eliminate their role in testing, while transferring sanction taking to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The IOC has also criticized WADA for failing to act quickly on doping allegations in Russia, which was accused of operating a ‘state-sponsored’ scheme over several years.

But there is widespread resistance to the IOC plan outside of WADA, with powerful federations indicating they want to be exempt from the reforms.

A system for all?
The head of FIFA’s medical commission, Michel D’Hooghe, said world football’s governing body would not surrender control of its drug testing to a new entity.

“We respect the WADA and IOC proposals but they concern the smaller federations,” he said.

The head of another federation, who requested anonymity, said his sport would never outsource anti-doping efforts and described the IOC call for a new testing unit as “more political than practical.”

In contrast, Tom Dielen who heads World Archery said there would only be a small impact on smaller sports.

“We outsource our controls already,” he said.

AFP

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