International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has remarked he wants governments to do more to combat drugs in sport after the Russian doping scandal that rocked the buildup to the Rio Olympics.
Bach, reinforcing his belief that the World Anti-Doping Agency should be fully overhauled, said governments should play a more active role so that a better and more transparent system of tackling cheats can be created. Bach told the Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly this has had to happen together with WADA because WADA, in the fight against doping, is the platform and added we also need the commitment of government and we together with governments want to make WADA more efficient.
The IOC and WADA have been at odds over their roles to deal with anti-doping cases after the World Anti-Doping Agency called for Russia to be banned from Rio following allegations of state-backed doping. The IOC decided to go against the suggestion of WADA and left the decision to individual sports and also remarked it believes a clearer system should be established, to take key decisions away from sports and national federations.
Bach also commented we think the whole anti-doping system should be independent from sports organizations with regard to testing and sanctioning. Bach added this is why we left sanctioning to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Rio, and this can serve as an example for all other sports organizations. The International Olympic Committee President added the system has to be more transparent and we have to be very clear who is responsible for what: testing, compliance, and sanctioning. Bach added we owe this to the athletes so they know what is happening, and we owe it to the public to be fully transparent.
The IOC has convened a summit in Switzerland next month to look at the issue before a global doping conference in 2017. Bach added you are all aware of the challenges we had with regard to the protection of clean athletes before the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. The IOC President remarked the IOC, on very short notice, had to take some preliminary decisions and actions in order to protect clean athletes. Bach added it in these discussions has become more obvious that we have to look at the WADA system and further said we decided that the IOC will ask for a full review of the WADA anti-doping system in order to make it more robust, more efficient, more transparent and more harmonious.
The IOC also denied claims that it is planning to form a new Integrity Unit to oversee anti-doping and match fixing issues. IOC Presidential spokesman Mark Adams said it is a "total fabrication" and added it has not been considered and will not be considered. Canada's IOC Athletes' Commission member Hayley Wickenheiser remarked there can only be one anti-doping agency worldwide - WADA - to maintain the faith and confidence of the athlete community. The four-time Olympic ice hockey gold medalist said the role of WADA should not continue to be undermined.