Olympic Leaders Give Consent On Independent Drug Testing System

In a shake-up of the drug testing system in sports, Olympic leaders gave their consent on Saturday that testing should be made independent of sport organizations. The leaders also urged that the World Anti-Doping Agency must take over the responsibility of drug testing on a global level.

Amit Ivry

It is believed that WADA would oversee drug testing programs in conjunction with existing bodies but could eventually facilitate a testing system itself. Most Olympic leaders were of the view that national governing bodies should not have the power to hand out suspensions and bans and only International Federations would remain responsible for suspensions and bans.

In a separate development, the International Olympic Committee has remarked that competitions run by international federations or national Olympic bodies must allow entry to athletes from all member countries and provide them with equal treatment or else the event will not be granted Olympic qualifying status. The IOC was referring to the issues of athletes from Israel being denied entry to some countries. Last year, Israel's flag was not displayed at World Baseball Softball Confederation Congress in Hammamet, Tunisia. In 2013, the Israeli flag was being obscured in the aftermath of Amit Ivry winning a silver medal during a Qatari television broadcast of an International Swimming Federation World Cup meet. An Israeli badminton player was denied a visa in August to compete in the world championships in Indonesia until the final minute and after intervention by the international federation.

A statement by IOC reads the summit agreed that for all competitions taking place under the auspices of an IF or NOC or their continental or regional associations, it has to be ensured that all athletes from all their members can enter a country to compete and are treated equally.

Many in the Olympic decision-making fraternity are of the view that Kosovo should be allowed to compete at events this year. Negotiations are going on with several organizers to allow athletes the Balkan Republic but any countries including Serbia, Russia and Brazil, still do not recognize Kosovo. Following the meeting, Bach remarked the IOC would assist the stakeholders of the Olympic Movement in this respect by giving information about best practice, by providing toolkits and by giving information and assistance and added his fourth Olympic Summit shows the unity of the Olympic Movement behind the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms. Bach said we cannot overstate the importance of good governance, which leads to credibility and also commented that we need credibility for our sports organizations as well as for our sports competitions.

Sebastian Coe, the recently elected president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, has called for an independent body to handle the process of drug testing in track and field.

These developments happened at the “Olympic Summit” convened in Lausanne, Switzerland, by IOC President Thomas Bach and the meeting was attended by rule-making executive board members of the IOC and leaders of international federations and national Olympic committees. Others who attended the meeting were Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti who heads the global association of national Olympic bodies; acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou; and the heads of the US, Russian and Chinese Olympic committees.

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