IOC issues declaration for improving anti-doping system

Photo: Greg Martin/IOC

Photo: IOC/Greg Martin


By Play the Game
In 12 principles, the International Olympic Committee lays out suggestions for a “more robust and independent” anti-doping system.

Following up on recent debate about the anti-doping system, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has outlined 12 principles that the Olympic Movement wishes to implement in ”dialogue and close cooperation” with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and other stakeholders improving the anti-doping.

The IOC anti-doping principles emphasize that securing a WADA independent from both sports organisations and from national interests is an important step in strengthening the anti-doping effort. Meanwhile, without specifying the details, the principles also state that sports and governments should be equally represented on the WADA boards.

Athletes should also be represented on the WADA boards as should ‘independent members’, the declaration, released on 16 March, says.

As founding stakeholders, sport and governments should agree on a neutral president and vice-president that have no function in neither governments nor sports organisations.

WADA should be responsible for legislation including the list of prohibited substances and procedures, accreditation of laboratories, compliance monitoring, research and prevention, says the declaration.

According to the IOC, a supervisory independent testing authority should be established. This unit will determine a minimum number of tests that all athletes must perform in order to participate in world championships or the Olympics. NADOs should continue to perform the actual testing following the request of this testing authority.

The sanctioning of individuals violating the anti-doping regulations should be determined by CAS, says the IOC, referring to the “democratic principle of the ‘separation of powers’”.

"What is important is to have a separation between the governance and the prosecution of the cases, in other words the sanctioning and the investigation,” said Marc Adams, IOC head of communications, according to

"If those two are kept separate from the governance then you have a good, well-run system which runs along the separation of powers."

iNADO puzzled by IOC declaration
The IOC is not the first to suggest reforms in this area. iNADO, the umbrella organisation for national anti-doping agencies, has called for reforms on repeated occasions. Latest on the eve of the yearly WADA Symposium, held earlier this week, when iNADOs reiterated their call for reforms.

While welcoming some of the IOC proposals, iNADO chairman Joseph de Pencier calls some elements in the declaration ‘puzzling’.

"I see some points in the statement that are positive and show that the iNADO reform agenda is having impact on IOC thinking, such as that WADA’s governing bodies should include independent persons," he said to insidethegames

"It was interesting what was not addressed,” de Pencier said, and pointed to the fact that the IOC declaration included no commitment from sport to increase funding for the anti-doping effort, no proper sanctioning powers for WADA and “nothing indicating willingness of the IOC exclude countries with institutionalised doping from its Games,” de Pencier said.

The iNADO recommendations seek to enhance independence, transparency and investments in WADA while also securing its independence and avoiding conflicts of interests by separating sport organisations from anti-doping decisions. Unlike the IOC, iNADO see WADA as the sanctioning entity that also investigates and monitors compliance. iNADO also underlines the need for protection of whistleblowers as an essential point.

Speaking at the WADA Symposium, international director of Play the Game, Jens Sejer Andersen, gave his view on how the fight against anti-doping could be strengthened. Andersen called for an expansion of the ownership, the introduction of collective sanctions, and an increase of financing. Finally, he advised toning down the moralism. Read the entire speech.


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