Brian Cookson has released more details of his proposed independent anti-doping unit if he is elected as President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), with some of his ideas formed following discussions with Anne Gripper, formerly the sport’s top drugs buster.
The head of British Cycling had publicly revealed his plans for the new unit when he launched his manifesto in Paris on Monday (June 24) only for Pat McQuaid, the UCI President who is seeking to win a third term, to try to claim that it would not be allowed under the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
McQuaid’s case, however, was badly undermined yesterday when WADA confirmed to insidethegames that he was wrong and it would be permitted.
“There is no reason why such a model cannot be put in place internationally so that the UCI can fulfil its WADA Code obligations through an independently run organization which has fully autonomous powers of decision making,” Cookson writes in his latest blog published today. “There is precedent too, with SportAccord managing anti-doping programs for some smaller IFs (International Federations), while others such as the International Ski Federation currently outsource large portions of their anti-doping programs. As WADA have confirmed, there aren’t any provisions in the World Anti-Doping Code that prevent the UCI from setting up an independent anti-doping program. So, despite what has been said, this is perfectly possible.”
Cookson plans that the independent anti-doping unit would exist outside the UCI’s headquarters.
“To be properly independent it needs to be physically and politically separate from the UCI, applying the UCI anti-doping rules and led by a trusted high profile chief executive who reports to a Board made up of a range of well respected professionals and representatives with different areas of expertise and experience,” Cookson writes. “This would include people with legal, scientific, administration and education expertise and some with experience in the anti-doping area. The number of tests and athletes in the Registered Testing Pool, as well as the level and sources of funding would all be fully published. The UCI would be able to challenge its decisions in CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport)/open forum but not privately.”
Among those Cookson has sought advice from is Gripper, the architect of the biological passport that disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has admitted that if it existed while he was competing he would have been unable to avoid detection, and Nicki Vance, one of the start-up directors of WADA.
Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, has also been consulted.
“In developing these policies, we have been talking to leading experts who have been, or currently are, involved in senior positions in anti-doping in sport or cycling,” writes Cookson. “We also have the recommendations of the recent Deloitte consultation which showed the number one priority being that, ‘The UCI must take the steps necessary to restore cycling’s and its own credibility, in particular in relation to the public perception of cycling’s anti doping measures and current leadership.’ We need to listen and work collaboratively to make these changes. As my manifesto states, ‘We can’t afford another false start and more broken promises’.”
Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.