IOC call for conference with WADA after relations with sports reach "low point"

Monday, 18 February 2013
By Duncan Mackay

WADA play true logoFebruary 17 - A conference to try to ease growing tensions between several sports and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been called by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). 

It is planned to schedule the event in April or May, the IOC's ruling Executive Board decided at its meeting in Lausanne last week. 

Details of the plan, which still have to be finalised, have only just now emerged publicly. 

Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), which represents the 28 sports that will take part in the Games at Rio 2016, had written to IOC President Jacques Rogge to ask him to arrange the meeting.

"Relations with WADA have deteriorated significantly and the lack of help and support from WADA against a background of constant media criticism of its sports 'partners' and the consequent breakdown of trust need to be addressed as a priority," the Italian, who is President of the International Tennis Federation, wrote in a letter to Rogge.

The letter was sent at a time when relations between WADA and the International Cycling Union (UCI) have sunk to an all-time low following a row over how Lance Armstrong was able to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles while using banned drugs.

WADA President John Fahey and Pat McQuaid, his counterpart at the UCI, have been engaged in a war of words, mainly conducted through the media, about alleged cover-ups and the transparency of the inquiry cycling's world governing body is trying to conduct.

Francesco Ricci Bitti profileFrancesco Ricci Bitti, head of ASOIF, has written to IOC President Jacques Rogge seeking an urgent meeting because of tensions between the Olympic summer sports and WADA

"Things have deteriorated into a war of words," ASOIF director Andrew Ryan told Associated Press. 

"Things have reached a low point.

"There is a real fear that if it goes any further, then the level of cooperation will go even lower.

"Let's take this opportunity and have a real look at it."

The IOC, who provide half of WADA's annual budget of $26 million (£17 million/€19 million), is scheduled to nominate the next WADA President when Fahey's six-year term ends this November. 

WADA was established in 1999 as an international independent agency composed and funded equally by the IOC and Governments of the world.

WADA's governing bodies, namely Foundation Board and Executive Committee, are composed in equal parts by representatives from sport and Government.

WADA's Presidency - a volunteer position - alternates between the Olympic Movement and Governments.

Fahey replaced former IOC vice-president Dick Pound, who was also critical of the UCI during his time in charge. 

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