IOC chief Bach calls for revamp of anti-doping system

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 3 (IANS The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has called for revamping of the world anti-doping system in the wake of the revelations of widespread abuse in Russian sports.

While addressing his colleagues at the 129th IOC session on Tuesday, Bach said the uncovering of Russia’s doping incidents had exposed deficiencies in the current system run by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“Recent developments have shown that we need a full review of the WADA anti-doping system,” Bach said. “The IOC is calling for a more robust and efficient anti-doping system. This requires clear responsibilities, more transparency, more independence and better worldwide harmonisation.”

Anti-doping bodies called on the IOC to exclude the entire Russian team from the Rio Olympics, which will begin on Friday, after the WADA last month released a report that accused Russia of “state-sponsored” doping, reports Xinhua.

But the IOC ruled out a blanket ban on the Russian athletes and asked international federations to decide which athletes can compete.

Bach defended the IOC’s decision, describing the blanket ban as a “nuclear option”.

“Let us just for a moment consider the consequences of a ‘nuclear option’,” he said. “The result is death and devastation. This is not what the Olympic Movement stands for.”

Bach also stressed the IOC should not be blamed for the chaos coming so close to the Rio Olympics.

“It is not the IOC that is responsible for the accreditation and supervision of anti-doping laboratories. It is not the IOC which can be held responsible for all alleged corruption between the leadership of an international federation and a national member federation to cover up doing,” said Bach.

“The IOC has no authority to declare any organization non-compliant with the WADA code. The IOC has no authority over the testing program of athletes outside the Olympic Games. The IOC has no authority to follow up on information about the failings of the testing system.”

Bach’s comments were echoed by many of the IOC members.

“I think it’s not the reputation of the IOC that has to be restored, it’s the reputation of WADA,” said Israeli member Alex Gilady.

“The failure to investigate serious and credible allegations more swiftly has left the sports movement … in a very difficult position facing incredibly difficult decisions in an impossible timeframe,” said Argentina’s IOC member Gerardo Werthein.

But WADA President Craig Reedie, who is also a vice president of the IOC, did not respond immediately at the session.

–IANS

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