Rafael Santonja – President of the International Federation of Fitness and Bodybuilding – says the IFBB PRO-League, whose promoter Eric Favre was reportedly arrested earlier this month amid allegations of trafficking doping products, is “confusing the public through a false association of its activities to the IFBB”.
He also told insidethegames that the IFBB PRO-League and its operating body, the US-based National Physique Committee (NPC), was “making fun of the WADA Code.”
In the wake of Favre’s arrest, the Eric Favre Festival Sport Sante bodybuilding event – a National Physique Committee (NPC) and IFBB PRO League qualifier in Nice – was cancelled.
The IFBB Pro League has no relation to the International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness, who say they use the initials illegally.
The NPC, which claims to be the largest amateur bodybuilding organisation in the United States, stated it was "in shock" at the cancellation.
Santonja told insidethegames today: “The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) has, among its foundational principles, the clear concept of a healthy lifestyle, which is clearly in full harmony with the fight against doping.
“The IFBB is in full compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency and the WADA Code, something we consider of capital importance for the correct development of the sport.”
The IFBB numbers 199 national federations and is recognised by or affiliated to numerous other international organizations, including the GAISF (Global Association of International Sports Federations), Panamsports, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and the International World Games Association ( IWGA).
Santonja said the IFBB was “the unique organisation that represents worldwide the sports of bodybuilding and fitness,” adding that its actions influenced millions of bodybuilders, whether competitive or recreational.
“Because of such big popularity, we are also conscious of the great impact our sports have in society, as activities that surround them relate not only to sport but also to public health.
“It is because of this high popularity that we understand there may be private entities, organisers or promoters intending to perform or imitate those sports events organised, promoted or sanctioned by the IFBB.
“In principle, we have not got any problems with these private groups, unless we have evidence they represent a serious threat to the fight against doping in our sports.”
Santonja pointed out that in September 2017, “due to systematic violations of the WADA Code”, the IFBB had to suspend the USA National Federation – now known as the National Physique Committee – and its President, James Manion.
He added that the NPC was now included on the WADA Prohibited Associations List.
And the IFBB President maintained that the NPC and its President had since been “confusing the public through a false association of their activities to the IFBB.
“Actually, they are using the name IFBB PRO-League in the organisation of events in which they let (and encourage) the participation of suspended (ineligible) athletes, making fun of the WADA Code and raising the flag of a pretended call to freedom.
“Very recently, a new scandal has affected the NPC, Mr Manion and their environment.
“On last April 11, the NPC's representative for France was arrested at his home as part of an extensive investigation into anabolic trafficking, just before the beginning of their event in Nice (France) that was finally cancelled.
“More recently, the Court of Justice in Lebanon has stopped another event, the Brazilian Senate has initiated an investigation of their actions and a growing number of public actions have been adopted by public authorities concerned for public health and the use of steroids.
“The IFBB fully endorses and supports these reactions, which are in line with our principles on healthy lifestyle and the fight against doping.”