The new International Testing Agency has launched its operations ©ITA

The new International Testing Agency (ITA) - billed as "a major player in the global fight against doping" - officially started its operations in Lausanne today.

The body launched in the Olympic Capital after holding its second Foundation Board meeting.

Its creation was approved by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Executive Board in July of last year with anti-doping services available to International Federations (IFs) and major events which are willing to sign up.

The ITA claims to act independently of any sports organisation or national interest with its establishment seen as a key step in the global fight for clean sport.

A new logo has also been unveiled with the slogan "keeping sport real".

"We are extremely happy to officially move into our new headquarters in Lausanne," said the Foundation Board's President Valérie Fourneyron, the former French Sports Minister.

"Our team will have the chance to operate in the Olympic capital and benefit from the strong know-how that exists in Lausanne and the state of Vaud. 

"We look forward to providing the global sport community and athletes with our expertise in clean sport. 

"Our primary focus will be to regain trust by acting upon doping issues evenly across all sports worldwide."

Whether the ITA will operate as a truly independent entity has been questioned as most of the Foundation Board members have links to sports governance.

Benjamin Cohen, the ITA director general, exclusively told insidethegames in March that the body would remain partial while providing a more efficient and improved service for sporting organisations, however.

Members include Turkey's Uğur Erdener who serves as an IOC representative.

Already an IOC vice-president, he also sits on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee and Foundation Board.

He chairs the IOC's Medical and Scientific Commission and is President of the Turkish Olympic Committee and World Archery.

Francesco Ricci Bitti, the Italian President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and the former head of the International Tennis Federation, also has a seat on the Board as the IF representative.

Valérie Fourneyron welcomed the move into new Lausanne headquarters ©Getty Images
Valérie Fourneyron welcomed the move into new Lausanne headquarters ©Getty Images

The remaining two members are Zimbabwean swimmer Kirsty Coventry and China's Peijie Chen.

Coventry, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, will be the representative from the IOC Athletes' Commission.

Chen, the current President of the Shanghai Institute of Physical Education, will be the independent representative.

The Doping-Free Sport Unit of the Global Association of International Sports Federations will become the "operational nucleus" of the ITA, "ensuring the staff expertise required to provide anti-doping services under its new, independent governance structure".

The arrival of the ITA has been welcomed by authorities in Lausanne and Vaud.

"The fight against doping requires the convergence of advanced knowledge in research, management and communication in sport," said Philippe Leuba, State of Vaud Councillor in the Department of the Economy, Innovation and Sport.

"All these capabilities exist at the very highest level here. 

"The decision of the ITA and of the World Anti-Doping Agency to make Lausanne their home can only make us proud.

"We are committed to work hard and keep attracting key players in the sports world in our region."

Oscar Tosato, Municipal Councillor in charge of sports and social cohesion in the City of Lausanne, added: "Lausanne, the Olympic Capital, is a unique platform for knowledge exchange. 

"It brings a lot of added-value to international sport. 

"The synergies created here enable more than 2,000 people and nearly 60 sports organisations to work together and develop best practices around – amongst others – clean sport around the globe. 

"The relevance of the Olympic Capital platform for international sport is even strengthened today with the presence of the ITA."