Funding for thelong-term storage of drugs samples was approved by the IOC at its Executive Board meeting in Lausanne today ©Getty Images

Around 22,000 samples could be stored in a long-term programme managed by the International Testing Agency (ITA) and funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the organisation's Executive Board claimed here today.

The IOC Executive Board approved a budget of up to $5 million (£4 million/€4.5 million) to help fund the scheme, which will see the organisation help International Federations and National Anti-Doping Organisations store samples for up to 10 years.

IOC President Thomas Bach promised the organisation would contribute the amount at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Poland last month.

It was given the final seal of approval by the IOC Executive Board and comes as part of a plan to establish a long-term sample storage scheme for pre-Games testing programme, announced in October.

Bach claimed it would "greatly add to the deterrence factor, in particular when combined with new testing methods".

The sample storage programme will be run by the International Testing Agency ©Getty Images
The sample storage programme will be run by the International Testing Agency ©Getty Images

"With the advances in scientific analytical techniques in the years following each Olympic Games edition, this initiative is a valuable step towards significantly increasing the proportion of samples gathered in the pre-Games testing programme that are kept in long-term storage, using an intelligent approach based on the profile of the relevant sport and event, nationality and individual athlete concerned," the IOC said in a statement.

Samples can be stored for up to 10 years from the date of collection under the World Anti-Doping Code.

The IOC re-analysis programme has proved increasingly effective following recent Olympic Games.

At Beijing 2008, out of the 4,500 samples collected from participating athletes at the Games, including pre-competition testing, six athletes with positive specimens were disqualified.

Re-analysis, however, has led to the disqualification of a further 69 athletes, including nine gold medallists. 

It is a similar situation at London 2012, where 11 athletes have been stripped of gold medals following re-analysis of their samples.