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1ST LEAD IOC chief Bach calls on sports bodies to clean up trheir act By dpa correspondents

Europe
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Berlin (dpa) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has called on sports governing bodies to clean up their act to restore credibility at the end of a year of scandal.

"When Olympic Agenda 2020 was adopted one year ago, my message to everyone in the Olympic Movement was: change or be changed," Bach said in his new year statement published on the IOC website Wednesday.

"One just needs to look at the events over the last 12 months to realize that this message is even more urgent today to safeguard the credibility of sports organisations and to protect clean athletes.

"Undoubtedly, recent developments in some sports cast a shadow across the whole world of sport."

World football governing body FIFA has been plagued by scandal and long-standing president Joseph Blatter has been banned from the game, as has UEFA president Michel Platini.

The athletics body IAAF has been hit by allegations of bribery and cover-ups while Russian athletes have been suspended from competition due to their country operating a programme of systematic doping.

Bach looked back at 2015 to note the IOC has now "implemented internationally recognised standards of governance in all its activities" and "has strengthened its commitment to making the world‘s anti-doping system and the sanctioning of doped athletes independent from sports organizations."

The time-frame for the new anti-doping programme is some time before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but first 2016 will see the Summer Games held in Brazil.

Local organizers have been fighting problems with pollution and a difficult economic situation in Brazil but Bach maintained the Games would run smoothly."

"In August, the world will come together in Rio de Janeiro, for the very first Olympic Games in South America," he said. "I am confident that Brazil will enthusiastically welcome the world with their joy of life and their passion for sport.

"We know the current economic and political situation in Brazil will make the next months of final preparations more challenging, but together with the great support of the Cariocas and the Brazilian people, the organizers can count on the solidarity of the entire Olympic family to make the Games a success."

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