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WADA announces independent testing

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World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President, Craig Reedie at the 2017 WADA Annual Symposium on March 13, 2017 in Lausanne © AFP/File / Fabrice COFFRINI

MONTREAL, Canada, May 18 – The World Anti-Doping Agency announced the creation of a new independent testing body on Thursday but admitted it could not compel sports federations to come under its authority.

WADA President Craig Reedie told the agency’s Foundation Board meeting the independent testing body would operate under Swiss jurisdiction.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has backed the plan for an independent testing authority (ITA) and said it would be operational in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Valerie Fourneyron, chairman of WADA’s Medical Committee, headed a working group to study the creation of the new testing agency. He said it was a “piece of the puzzle” in the fight against drugs.

The body would “allow greater efficiency to ensure that tests improve,” Fourneyron said.

However, Fourneyron conceded that international sports federations could choose whether or not to come under the jurisdiction of the testing body.

“It is not legally possible to force them to join,” Fourneyron said.

It means that powerful sports federations which already have their own testing regimes may choose not to join.

Fourneyron said the ITA’s board of directors would comprise five members — a chairman, an IOC representative, a representative from an international federation, an athlete and a doping expert.

A WADA representative will sit on the ITA board but purely in an advisory capacity without voting rights.

The director general of the agency would be appointed by the board of directors and funding would be provided by the IOC.

“This is the action time and IOC is committed to provide financial support,” IOC vice-president Ugur Erdener told the meeting.

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