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IOC outlines new independent anti-doping test body

Europe
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Pyeongchang, South Korea (dpa) - The International Olympic Committee advanced plans on Thursday to set up an independent anti-doping testing system following the drugs scandal in Russian sports.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is also set to undergo reforms as the IOC tries to root out the cheats.

A WADA report last year alleged that more than 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in a state-sponsored doping system, and that cheating was rife at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in the country.

Following the first day of a two-day IOC executive board meeting in 2018 Winter Games host Pyeongchang, world sport‘s most powerful body issued a statement outlining the proposed changes to the anti-doping fight.

An Independent Testing Authority (ITA) will be set up which along with sports federations will develop anti-doping testing plans, which will contain a minimum number of tests for every athlete.

"This number is to be transparent for each athlete in a discipline of a sport. Athletes not having the established minimum testing level will not to be eligible for World Championships and Olympic Games," the IOC statement said.

The ITA board will include representatives from public authorities, the Olympic Movement and WADA as well as elected athlete representatives.

As expected, the IOC also said it wants those found guilty of doping to be sanctioned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the first instance not just on appeal as occurs now. Currently the initial sanction is handed down by the national sports body.

The proposed WADA reforms, which include guaranteeing the president is neutral and holding elections for athlete representation, are aimed at strengthening its work in combating sport‘s biggest scourge.

"The World Anti-Doping Agency must be equally independent from both sports organizations and from national interests," the IOC statement said.

"This is necessary because even the perception of a conflict of interest can be considered damaging to the credibility of the anti-doping system."

Separately, it was announced that IOC president Thomas Bach has invited Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, the independent investigator who authored the WADA reports into Russian doping, to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne for talks.

There has been friction between the IOC and anti-doping campaigners who called for a blanket ban on Russians competing in last year‘s Rio Summer Olympics.

Instead the IOC left the decision up to the individual sporting bodies.

No decision has so far been taken on Russian participation in Pyeongchang as IOC officials await reports in the coming months on how Russia is progressing with promises to clean up its anti-doping system.

IOC member and International Skiing Federation chief Gian Franco Kasper caused controversy earlier on Thursday when he compared a blanket Russian ban at the 2018 Games to the Holocaust.

"I‘m just against bans or sanctioning of innocent people," the Swiss told reporters at the executive board meeting.

"Like Mr. Hitler did - all Jews were to be killed, independently of what they did or did not."

He later apologized for his remarks.

The IOC board also heard on Thursday about preparations for the 2018 Games and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, with a report on the progress of construction for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games due on Friday.

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